Friday, August 26, 2011

The kids....

My practice is going to focus on family law and disputes.  I know this is a hard area of the law, I don't pretend that it will not be.  The hardest part of this is that I am finding out how much parents use their children as weapons.  Over the last three years, I have had several friends that have gone through a divorce with children involved.  Here is what I have learned:

1.  Petty complaints abound.  That's right.  These complaints are numerous.  A few of my friends have new "legal" (what they think at least) complaints every few days.  They think that the court will intervene.  I use to play counselor to these (they psych kind, not legal kind) and entertain each of the complaints.  But that is NOT the way to deal with it.

2.  Ex wants to control morals.  Yep.  The big thing, more so with moms than dads, is that pesky new girlfriend around the kids.  And unfortunately, some ex's have a revolving door of new hookups and dates.

3.  "I just want him/her to stop being a selfish person and put the kids first."  What can I do to make the other parent, parent?  It is as if the parent believes that there is a motion to file in order to make someone stop being selfish.  Sorry, if your ex does not put your children first, (s)he is never, ever going to.  A court can do nothing about this -- and the truth is neither can you.

Bottom line:  I'm not an attorney yet.  I don't give legal advice to these friends.  I actually refer them to speak to their lawyer AFTER I ask this question:  What is your goal/objective in filing a new motion?  That is, what do you want the court to do?  Inevitably it comes down to something that I want to drive home emotionally and logically to them.......................  They will say things like:  I want him to be a dad, or, I want him to ______.  Then I say this:  No, that's not something a court likely enforce -- that's morality, it seems.  So what do you want the court to do?  The court can ordering parenting classes, or issue a noncompliance contempt order, or require supervised visitation in severe cases -- so what do you want that is within the power of the court??? When asked that they pause.  See the really GOOD parents realize quickly that the outcome means their ex being further alienated from the child's life and the child being hurt even more.  They stop and think about it.  Or, you get the truth:  I don't care, I just want him/her to hurt.

So I have learned quickly something I will apply in my practice:  What do you want the court to do?  What is your goal/objective? 

Yeah, no wonder attorney's are referred to as counselor's.

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