In almost 30 years of practicing law I have had a number of Sex Workers as clients. I have defended them in criminal court (a fetish model/Domme for speeding tickets), litigated against banks (escort/flight attendant in a number of foreclosure and breach of contract actions), Aromatherapy shop owners in landlord/tenant issues. I have even done a number of family law cases with and without children’s issues. In this post, I will focus on cases with children and in a future post I will write about cases involving alimony and property.
The initial thought for most people is that being a sex worker is somehow fatal to your parenting case. It’s not. I practice in Florida and I write from my own experience but the community standards are pretty similar in most urban/suburban areas. First, the court’s are way more concerned with parents with substance abuse or domestic violence issues than sex work as an income source. Also, the judges aren’t happy when people lie in court about their income. So if you are a sex worker but don’t have a drug or alchohol issue and disclose your income truthfully, you are 90% ok.
As a lawyer, I would play off the nuance that adult film actors don’t automatically lose their children so why should sex workers? The advantage I have when I represent a sex worker in a parenting class is that the other side thinks they will just roll into court and get what they want. The problem is that many times the Sex worker’s biggest problem has been the man she has kids with. She’s paying all of the bills with her “illegal” activity and he’s a trainwreck, no job, no schooling and a bad attitude. It’s probably a good trial strategy to categorize the Sex Work as a temporary financial band aid because the “father of the year” wouldn’t pull his weight financially. He is happy while they are together and she is paying for everything but as soon as the relationship has issues, her Sex Work is all of a sudden a problem. Luckily the judges see past this. They are more concerned with Adverse Childhood Experiences than someone’s career being a misdemeanor.
I once had a case where my client was paying alimony but had the teenage son full time because mom had some substance issues and couldn’t work. The son and his mom saw each other pretty frequently but no overnights. My client found her ads on Craigs list and also on TER so I filed a motion for her to pay child support which was actually deducted from the Alimony. The lady judge was only concerned about the financial aspect and didn’t care about the fact that mom was escorting. She, the judge, even joked about doing it herself to earn some extra bucks. It didn’t affect her contact with her son (I also didn’t pound the table about it). In another case, the client had a bunch of ads but the other side couldn’t prove anything other than she modeled for some pictures. In civil court, without the benefit of undercover police, actual sex work is pretty hard to prove unless the former partner was actually part of the business and then he is tarred with the same brush. Each case is different and tactical decisions are made all of the time about how to disclose certain information.
Remember, being a good parent, with a stable residence, with no substance abuse and a steady income outweighs any issue with being a sex worker.
I am always available for a consultation, firstname.lastname@example.org