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[complete] Family Ties

Level Five: Department of International Magical Co-operation, incorporating the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats.

[complete] Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:30 pm

Charlie was so glad to have something else to focus on. All right, so his kid and his crush were missing, probably held captive by pure evil, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. He just had to wait.

In the meantime, he'd done quite a bit of research, as requested by his newest client. Spread out in front of him was all the available information regarding one Sullivan Flannery: Ministry personnel files, clippings from the Daily Prophet, court documents from a decade earlier and, of course, the materials Ms. Mullin had left with him after their first meeting.

Mr. Flannery had violent tendencies. Even if a court wouldn't accept Ms. Mullin's decade-old photographs of her bruised biceps and the shattered whiskey glass, they would have to accept the documentation proving that he'd gotten himself suspended from work by physically attacking co-workers during the period of the divorce. Additionally, the LeBeau couple were willing to testify to Ms. Mullin's bruised and traumatized state after her expulsion from the family home ten years earlier.

Mr. Flannery had been derelict in his duties toward his daughter. Whether or not her kidnapping was due to his negligence - and Charlie sympathized with Flannery more than was comfortable on this point - it would be simple to point out in court that Neve was kidnapped on his watch and let judge or jury come to their own conclusions.

Mr. Flannery had committed defamation of character and, now that he'd had a Veritaserum-induced conversation with Ms. Mullin, he was perfectly aware of that fact. Mr. Flannery had slandered Ms. Mullin and taken advantage of her financial straits to obtain an unfairly biased ruling.

Perhaps most damning of all, Mr. Flannery had enlisted his family's help in flouting Ms. Mullin's legally-granted right to visitation. Through tactics of intimidation and stonewalling, the Flannerys had obstructed justice and deprived a little girl of her mother.

All in all, their chances of winning Ms. Mullin's sole physical custody of the new baby were looking good. If Mr. Flannery was planning to put up a fight about being denied parental rights over the infant, Charlie would be ready to fight back on Ms. Mullin's behalf.

He looked at his clock. She would be arriving at any moment with the financial documents he'd requested. This time, the kid would not be taken away from the loving mother.

A time of personal crisis

#PensieveShop #PensieveEmotions
Last edited by Liz on Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:31 pm

Cara knocked timidly on his door, then opened it when she was invited to do so. Her stomach was running riot, just as it always did now. She could never tell how much of it was physiologically related to the baby and how much of it was just fear.

She greeted Mr. Grant, shook his hand, and sat down. "I've brought all the necessary financial information: taxes, savings, property, credit reports ... I might have brought too much, really, but ... "

She trailed off. It was obvious: Better safe than sorry. She was not losing this kid.

Hiring an attorney was the first thing Cara did after getting her results from the pregnancy potion. Sully was both baby-crazy and back on the 'Cara's-a-whore' train, so she wasn't about to tell him this news without fully preparing herself for the fallout.

He wasn't taking this kid. He'd taken Neve. This one was Cara's.
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:16 pm

"Oh, there's no such thing as 'too much,'" Charlie replied with a comforting nod as he accepted the papers and set about shuffling through them. Everything supported what Ms. Mullin had already told him: Though her job in academia wasn't terribly high-paying, she had lived frugally over the preceding decade and accumulated considerable savings. The savings, plus her continued income and her largely paid-off flat in Bath, would ensure that no court could find her financially incapable of raising her child.

That was one of Flannery's old arguments nullified.

"These are perfect," Charlie said after he'd finished looking them over. He tapped the edges of the stack against his desk, leaving it neat and organized. "I believe we have a solid case here, Ms. Mullin. Now the next step is to determine exactly how you would like to move forward. You mentioned before that you were inclined to have me inform him of the news, thereby making it clear from the start that you are capable of bringing the law to bear in your defense. Is that still accurate, or have you decided you would like to approach him on your own?"
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 4:52 pm

Cara shuddered a bit at the question, shaking her head and shrugging. She'd gone back and forth a million times on that point. As with everything in life, both options had their pros and their cons. Sending Mr. Grant would make it clear how serious she was, but could escalate the situation too quickly. Going on her own could possibly help her keep things somewhat amicable, but it would leave her vulnerable to manipulation and straight-out lies.

"I don't know," she confessed. "Talk me through it again?"
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:01 pm

Charlie nodded, leaning forward and folding his hands together. His entire manner was, as usual, compassionate and understanding. Of course Ms. Mullin was upset and confused and questioning everything. Why wouldn't she be?

Charlie could remember that early fear, back when he'd just adopted Marcus. Would David change his mind? Would he show up to take the kid back? What if it turned into an ugly, drawn-out court battle? So, yeah, Charlie hadn't been in her exact position, but he could empathize with the fear of having a child taken away.

"It's not a simple question," he pointed out, trying to remind her not to castigate herself for her indecision. "There's the possibility that he won't be interested in the child at all - No? Certainly not?" She was shaking her head vigorously. "All right, so we can safely assume that he will want rights over the child. Well, in that case, one of us will have to present your proposed deal. My method of doing so would be more detached and professional, and as such might mollify or exacerbate his reaction. It's very difficult to predict.

"If you went to him, you might be able to encourage some of his ... softer emotions? No?" She was shaking her head again. Ms. Mullin seemed to believe that Mr. Flannery had very little regard for her.

All right, well ... it needed to be asked. Charlie drew in a deep breath. "Ms. Mullin, are you concerned that Mr. Flannery might physically harm you if you deliver this information on your own?"
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:11 pm

Cara's eyes widened. Was that something she was communicating? Her immediate impulse was to defend Sully. "No!" she exclaimed quickly, before the question fully sank in.

Then she began to wonder. "I don't know ... " She really didn't have much of a read on who Sully had become over the last decade. He'd behaved decently toward her while Neve was still missing - out of desperation, she assumed - but then he'd seen her with Finn and gone right back to treating her like she was some kind of a harlot.

How would he react? Would he yell? Would he be angry? What about when she told him that she intended to keep him as far out of the child's life as humanly possible? She felt confident that he wouldn't do anything to physically harm the baby, but that didn't necessarily mean he wouldn't harm her.

She was at a loss. She didn't know what would be best. She wanted to believe he wouldn't hurt her, but it was a risky belief to maintain.

"I don't know," she repeated, her voice heavy with sadness. "He can be ... surprising. Unpredictable. And ... ruthless? That sounds melodramatic, but ... well, you've seen the old court documents.

"Would ... do you think it would work for us to do it together? Maybe even ... sign the papers?"
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:17 pm

Charlie furrowed his brow, one hand leaping to play absently along his lower lip. He had the papers - he'd drawn them up just as she'd asked - but he didn't like them. Of course, it wasn't his place to say so, but the idea of completely separating two siblings made him sad.

It was extreme, but Ms. Mullin was well aware of that fact.

"We could do it together, yes," he replied, reaching for the newly-drafted contracts. "I have the paperwork here, as you requested. But, as you know, these signatures would be final. Once you've signed away your parental rights over Neve, you will have no legal recourse. Re-opening the case will not be an option."

He slid the papers in front of her: two nearly-identical contracts. One would waive parental rights over Neve Flannery and awaited Ms. Mullin's signature. The other would waive parental rights over the new baby and awaited Mr. Flannery's signature.

As far as Ms. Mullin could tell, this was her best shot at protecting her right to raise her child.
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:26 pm

Cara offered something spastic that was supposed to be a nonchalant shrug. When she spoke, her voice was choked and tremulous, betraying the true depth of pain she felt at this confession.

"What rights?" she asked, bitterly. "The supervised weekend visits where multiple Flannerys stood guard over my kid? I have almost literally nothing to lose when it comes to Neve. He made sure of that." God, she hated thinking about it. It had all been so unfair! But it wasn't going to happen again. No way in hell. That baby-crazy asshole would have to be content keeping only one of Cara's children from her.

"So ... so we'll do it together. Or you'll go in first and I'll wait outside until it's time. And then, if he refuses to sign, we hit him with the threat."
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:03 am

Charlie arched an eyebrow and gave a wry grin. "Perhaps you should let me mention that, because it isn't a threat and we shouldn't think of it or present it as such. It's merely smart practice: If he insists on taking the baby's case to court, we will be re-opening Neve's case at the same time.

"I can't promise you any specific results, but circumstances are far different now than they were ten years ago. At the very least, Mr. Flannery would likely be censured for his failure to abide by the original court's ruling. Additionally, it may be gender-discriminatory, but courts are loath to separate children from their mothers. Finally, with his track record of violence and the fact that Neve was kidnapped ... well, I would be shocked if the new ruling even remotely resembled the old one.

"Now, what if he's interested in mediating out of court? What concessions, if any, would you be willing to make? And have you considered the potential relationship between Neve and her sibling?"
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Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:43 pm

Cara really didn't want to take this to court. The fact of the matter was that Neve didn't know her, and the little girl would be made unhappy by a change in the status of her custody. Frankly, Cara was hoping that the plan would function as a threat: that Sully would back down from a court case upon realizing what was at stake. He'd won a decade before and, if they signed the papers, he would never have to worry about the situation changing.

Of course, it would be ideal for Cara to be able to spend time parenting both of her children, but the ideal outcome was rarely realistic.

"I want Neve to have a relationship with her sibling," Cara replied, her voice and manner completely sincere. "She can see the baby whenever she wants. I'll stay in London for that purpose. Hell, Sully can even see the baby in my presence. I just need him to be legally incapable of any decision-making."

That was reasonable, right? That was what he'd done to her. Why would she want her sometimes-violent, often-slanderous, custody-disrespecting ex-husband to have any legal control over her child? Shit, she already had the moral high ground because she was willing to let him see the baby. If Sully wanted to argue about this, he really wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on.
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PLAYER | Liz

Re: Family Ties

Postby Charles Grant » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:22 am

"You've decided to stay in London? That's good. That shows that you're sincere about keeping the two children connected. But you'll need to find a flat as soon as possible. The sooner you can honestly say that you're working on moving out of your hotel room, the better.

"I would, of course, not advise moving in with Mr. Wicklough. You don't want to do anything that could be construed as impulsive or short-sighted." Ms. Mullin was shaking her head, expressing her full agreement that she was not about to move in with her new maybe-partner.

Charlie took a moment to make a few notes in his fancy work journal. He was really a fancy-journal kind of guy, with shelves at home full of years of his writing. Once he'd finished with that and returned the other documents to their neat stack, he pulled a thick reference volume from the shelf in the corner, paged through it, and then offered it to Cara once he'd located the relevant page.

"Here's how I would propose moving forward with out-of-court mediation. Assuming that both you and Mr. Flannery sign the waivers, we would then hammer out a mutually approved agreement regarding visitation. Any provisions of that contract would be binding until you and he chose together to revisit the document. That way, you would be responsible to each other in terms of keeping the family together. It would be illegal for one of you to disappear with your custodial child.

"I assume that Mr. Flannery would retain his own attorney for that process, but I would be there with you and nothing would go in the contract that you didn't agree to beforehand. Your rights over the baby would remain protected.

"Would you feel comfortable moving forward with this as our plan of action?"
User avatar
Ministry of Magic
International Magical Cooperation
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PLAYER | Liz

Re: Family Ties

Postby Cara Mullin » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:11 pm

Cara swallowed hard, staring sightlessly at the page he'd shown her, then nodded. "Right. So that Neve and the baby can spend time together. And Sully can see the baby."

She should talk to him herself, though. As much as she didn't want to admit it, Cara owed Sully that much. After all, he had begun letting her spend some time with Neve after the girl's rescue. And she had the law on her side, and a hell of a court case prepared if it came to that.

She would just talk to him in public. That should keep him from flipping his shit.

Damn. Too bad everything was so scary. Her stomach still hurt like crazy.

#Carivan
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London
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PLAYER | Liz


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