As a lawyer who does mostly child custody litigation I run the risk of putting myself out of a job by writing this post, however the bottom line to what I do is figuring out what is best for the kids and to attempt to bring some sense of peace and well being to the families who are so broken and hurting from divorce or custody litigation, therefore, albeit it risky for my job security, I will now say what is on my mind.
As I sat in court today waiting for my case, I heard two cases that made me think I did not envy the judge one bit. One where the parties (mom and dad) brought an issue of when to start their child in Kindergarten to the court, the second case brought the issue of the kids extra-curricular activities to the court, whether the children should be involved in football and cheer leading versus the youth group at church.
Neither parents position was right or wrong, the decision is not clear cut, and I am sure that all parties involved had the best intentions. However what struck me most was how sad these two situations truly were. The parents of these children, the people who bath them, feed them, know the kids like the back of their hand, and love them unconditionally cannot even come together to agree on such things. As a result they are leaving these decisions to a total stranger who has never met their child, does not know which activities the child actually likes, does not know if the child is advanced or below average developmentally and yet this stranger who doesn't know the child will decide if the child goes to Kindergarten early or will decide whether they participate in football or youth group. In thinking about it objectively it is really quite non-sensical to have a judge decide matters of parenting.
Ultimately the Judge told the parties he did not know the child and appeared to rule in favor of the attorney who argued better.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to those outlined above, do not loose hope. Going to court on issues like these is a last resort. There is always room for negotiation and a skilled attorney who truly has the child's interests in mind as well as their clients will often be successful in a negotiation process where the parents are both satisfied and most importantly the children are not being thrust in the middle of conflict unnecessarily. However prior to even getting to that point remember, you know your child better than anyone, you love your child more than anyone ever will and you, above all, know what is best for your child, do not loose sight of the power of a parent.
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