The Beginnings and Pre-Trial
I first met Carey Linde in the late 1980s when we were in adversarial roles. I was part of a large defendant company being represented by an equally large Vancouver law firm. Carey was representing a small plaintiff and had the task of deposing me over a couple of days.
We had a good exchange and I was left with a feeling of respect for Carey, his incisiveness, and integrity which, at the time, I thought were odd attributes for a lawyer. I remembered his name and some ten years later, was glad that I had.
I married in 1992, we had our daughter in 1993 and separated in 1996, when I came home from work to find the house emptied. In the beginning the separation was somewhat amicable – because it was slanted so much in favour of my soon-to-be ex-wife and I had lingering thoughts about salvaging our relationship.
My ex-wife and our daughter stayed in the family home after her lawyer threatened that if I was not compliant, I would “lose everything.” I should have, but did not retain counsel at that point. Like most good fathers, I chose to be the one to leave the family home and struggle myself rather than have my child do so. Continuing to pay the mortgage on our home, I paid all other outstanding bills, provided unconditional use of my car, and also paid my ex-wife $1200 per month.
Meanwhile, I moved in a two-room basement suite, budgeted carefully, walked to work and was allowed to see my 3-year-old daughter 1/2 day mid-week and every other weekend (two days and one night). For approximately three years, my exposure to my child was four days in total per month. I did not retain a lawyer as I was hopeful of repairing my marriage. I should have sought legal advice immediately things started to go south.
After a period of relative calm, which I now understand was to provide my ex-wife with time to join several radical support groups and plan, I was served with documents starting our divorce. I became the “defendant.”
My ex-wife cut off all access to my child, I did not see her, speak with her, or have any contact whatsoever for over one year. It was the most difficult period in my life.
I phoned Carey Linde. Carey met with me promptly and began his mentorship to me in the fine art of being a father defendant in family law. His abiding message was patience and hope, and try to de-personalize the onslaught. It took me awhile to begin to listen and learn, particularly in the latter case.
My ex-wife began making her case to cut me out of my daughter’s life.
Over the pre-trial period of several years she drafted so many affidavits that I lost count. She adopted the mantle of “victimization” and became quite creative in beginning to build a case against me that, eventually, would defy the imagination.
She would make 43 allegations ranging, in terms of false allegations, from the ridiculous (that I laundered money for the Chicago mafia), to the horrible (that I sexually molested my daughter). This was the defining accusation that held much sway on judges and others during the 1980s. It took people like Carey, who laboured mightily against such travesties, many years to turn the tables and expose this all-too-recurring false accusation.
It was difficult not to let this constant barrage bury me – the well of self-pity and anger was never far away. Through it all, while I railed against the imaginary, Carey was at all times the calm helmsman, consistent in his advice and patience.
As was necessary, Carey rebutted each accusational affidavit promptly and adeptly. Before trial, there is only so much you can do to bring the truth forward, again patience is the critical ingredient. On Carey’s advice, I submitted to a Polygraph on the specific topic of “sexual molestation” and passed the test. This buoyed my spirit and hopefulness.
Carey would depose my ex-wife, and his interviewing skill was both effective and incisive. We had valuable information with which to build an defense. Carey did everything possible to avoid trial and to bring the situation to a mediated ending.
As mentioned, the plaintiff was receiving free legal aid and used this circumstance to retain a revolving door of legal counsel. In all, she would plough her way through eight lawyers over the course of the dispute. Carey would rebut a series of false accusations, my ex-wife’s counsel would give her some no-nonsense advice to “calm down and come to the table,” and they would be fired and replaced.
We went to trial in late 2002.
We began trial in November 2002; it would last for 22 days.
The Plaintiff took 18 of those days and was unsuccessful in proving any of the 43 false allegations. This was due to Carey’s insightful cross-examination skills and trial plan, which brought truth to the courtroom.
We had many pre-planning sessions where I became familiar with Carey declaring, “K, just keep it brief and just answer my question.” He kept me focused and that made all the difference. Carey also maintained a warm relationship with my daughter and kept her “best interests” at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
In particular, Carey was at the top of his game in cross-examining key expert witnesses, specifically, a child psychologist. Carey expertly exposed her thinly disguised bias toward the Plaintiff. After an excellent exchange, the Dr. conceded and finally concurred I represented no threat to my daughter.
Cross-examination makes or breaks trials, and you can only imagine the confidence I felt knowing Carey Linde would be challenging any testimony that did not contain the truth.
I wish I had that transcript, it was a riveting – controlled by Carey’s deep experience in both law, psychology, and experience in being a father in children’s lives.
Due to Carey’s planning and execution at trial, I won full shared custody of my daughter and the Plaintiff an admonishment for fabricating evidence.
The feeling of relief and joy was something I have never experienced before.
I was able to parent my child for two weeks per month, and restore our relationship.
My daughter is now 18 years of age, graduated Grade XII with an “A” average, developed a love affair with stage and theatre. She not only starred in productions both in school and outside (The Cultch, The Norman Rothstein Theatre, Fringe Festival, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Troupe). She will begin college on a scholarship this fall and is a well-adjusted, fine young woman.
I believe this is a direct result of having two parents fully involved in her life.
And that is due to a lawyer advocate called Carey Linde.