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How does the Marchman Act work with divorce proceedings?

Hello, everyone. It’s Mark, and welcome back.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the Marchman Act and Divorce proceedings. I will discuss how the Marchman Act can come into play if you’re in the middle of a divorce or already divorced.

There have been a number of times where we have been asked to Marchman Act for somebody, might be the husband or the wife for their soon-to-be ex-spouse. They want to know if they can do it while there’s a divorce proceeding pending, and the simple answer is yes. I’ve seen cases where one spouse Marchman acted the other and then divorced. I’ve seen other cases where one spouse wanted to Marchman Act the other, and there was already a pending divorce. I’ve also seen cases where the couple is already divorced, and Marchman Act comes along. This is a dilemma, and I think it really brings up the whole issue of sword versus shield. Meaning, the Marchman Act is intended to help people; it’s not designed to hurt somebody. If somebody calls me up and they’re using it to try and hurt somebody, I’m not going to help them because that’s not what I’m here to do. The goal here is to help people dealing with substance use and mental illness.

If you’re trying to use this proceeding to try and hurt somebody and leverage them in the divorce proceeding, I’m not your lawyer. I will tell you that straight: I don’t want your case, I don’t want your money, and please don’t call me again. I have seen instances where that has happened, and I’ve just flatly refused to accept the representation.

There are times when spouses are getting divorced, or they’ve been divorced, where a Marchman Act is appropriate. That typically happens when children are involved, while the spouses are at each other’s throats, perhaps they hate each other, but they have children. I’ve had conversations with one client who was already divorced and said he and his ex-wife don’t get along, but she’s a terrific mother to their children. He knows his children need their mother, but he needs to make sure that she’s sober. I believe there was an instance where the ex-wife was abusing alcohol significantly. Those are instances where the Marchman Act can be a useful tool.

Again, we’re trying to actually help somebody even if they don’t perceive that we’re trying to help them. I mean, I’m going to steer clear of the whole divorce thing, and if I get the sort of a whiff that it’s being used to hurt somebody, I’m going to withdraw from the case. Marchman Act comes up with divorce proceedings. It can come up before the divorce is even initiated and even after.

That was a great question. If you have any more like that, I’m always happy to answer. The goal of these videos is to try and help as many people as possible, to give away as much information as we possibly can. If you decide to consult with us again, I don’t charge for a consult. If you hire us, that’s a different conversation about attorney’s fees and costs.

See you in the next video!

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