Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Feeling some heat, McGreevey backs down (vaguely)

After yesterday's news reports (and commentary) concerning Jim McGreevey's revised lawsuit for divorce in which he seeks sole custody of the daughter he has with soon-to-be-ex-wife Dina Matos McGreevey, it seems that McG might have felt a little heat and decided to do some damage control:

A day after the court filing was reported in The Star-Ledger, McGreevey called a reporter and said he wanted to "clarify" the intent.

"We tried to work towards an agreement," he said, referring to his estranged wife, Dina Matos McGreevey. "Now we turn to the judge to ask for the benefit of the court's wisdom in discerning the settlement."

The 49-year-old ex-governor declined to answer repeated questions about whether he wants full custody of his daughter.

He and his new attorney, Mat thew Piermatti, said the document was meant to be ambiguous.

"The language is intentionally vague," Piermatti said. "All options are open."

Not everyone is buying the "vague" excuse (also from the Star-Ledger):

Divorce-law experts yesterday said they were surprised that any lawyer would be imprecise, especially in an area as sensitive as child custody. "It's not normally what you do," said Lynne Z. Gold-Bikin, former chairwoman of the family law sec tion of the American Bar Association and managing partner of Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen, a major Northeast firm with offices in Roseland. "You've got to be specific."

Gary Skoloff, who teaches family law at Seton Hall Law School, said McGreevey's revised lawsuit clearly includes a request for sole custody by the ex-governor. And Skoloff said it looks to him like McGreevey changed his tune late yesterday after a day of media commentary assailing him for seeking custody of his daughter.

"Nobody's intentionally vague when it comes to custody," Skoloff said. "You're not allowed to play with custody. Being intentionally vague is the worst thing you can do with custody in family court. When you mention custody, you leave it wide open, meaning there's no agreement on custody and you're asking for custody."

We're not buying vague either. Try again Jim.

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