The Dangers of Allowing a Judge to Resolve Your Parenting Disputes
Author: Larry Sarezky, Esq.
Most parents continue to co-parent their children after divorce. Absent circumstances where children are at risk, parents have the responsibility to put the their children first by working out a cooperative parenting plan that is in the children’s interests. If you are unable to resolve children’s issues with your co-parent, a judge will, and there are some very good reasons to avoid that:
The courtroom custody evaluation process can humiliate, frighten and compromise your children, causing them enduring emotional harm.
Custody cases are tremendously expensive. Parents must not only pay their own lawyers, but they may also have to pay attorneys to represent their children and/or guardians ad litem who are appointed in custody cases for children who are too young to express their feelings and preferences.
Trial outcomes are difficult to predict.
A judge’s orders after trial rarely contain the crucial details that parents need to parent effectively going forward.
Your inability to make decisions regarding your children leaves them with a poor example - you want to teach positive conflict resolution.
A high conflict court case all but destroys the chances for a constructive co-parenting relationship after the divorce.
Spare your children the ordeal of the court custody evaluation process and a prolonged divorce case that mires them in anxiety and uncertainty. You can accomplish that by dealing with child-related issues in a mindful, productive way, as follows:
Agreeing with your spouse on a Parenting Goal Statement that memorializes your common beliefs and goals regarding dealing with your children during the divorce
Communicating clearly with your spouse about your kids, and confirming important communications in writing
Seeking advice from a child therapist or divorce coach regarding child-related issues
Using a mediator, including those available through court systems at little or no cost, to help you resolve child-related matters as soon as possible
Maintaining as much of the children’s routine as possible
Telling your lawyer that you want to resolve any outstanding child-related issues at the very first opportunity
Divorce challenges parents to overcome obstacles and make sound decisions regarding their children. Parents able to do that offer their children a wonderful parenting model. Parents who can’t, allow life altering decisions regarding their children to be made by a stranger.
To learn more about protecting your children during divorce, check out Larry Sarezky’s amazon #1 best-seller, Divorce, Simply Stated.
About the Author: Larry Sarezky is a family law attorney and mediator in Fairfield Connecticut who currently limits his practice to divorce mediation and consultation. He is a past Chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Family Law Section and member of the CBA’s Liaison with the State Courts Committee, a think tank of leading Connecticut lawyers and judges. During a 30-plus- year career, Larry has represented clients from the ranks of Fortune 500 CEOs, Baseball Hall of Famers and Oscar, Grammy and Emmy Award winners. Learn about Larry Sarezky’s divorce mediation practice at www.sarezkylaw.com.