Friday, February 22, 2013

Divorce & Children: 50/50 Custody

Winter 2012

names have been omitted in this post


I stood under the bright lights at the bench flanked by attorneys. Before me sat the Judge in her position of deliberation and consideration she was to hold. Behind me was a courtroom filled with onlookers awaiting their own cases to be heard. Dressed in black slacks and a jacket I stood waiting to hear what the Judge would say. As I stood there listening to her words my heart sank. It had been well established by an expert I was by far the better parent for my children. It had been well established that the expert believed all children of divorce need a primary parent and residence....but even more so if one parent is by far less skilled. I listened as the Judge explained that although she had been given an expert view of the circumstances and extreme differing of skill levels by the parents she had decided she would allocate the child custody 50/50.

I stood there feeling as though I'd been struck.

Clearly there has been a mistake, I surmised.

A Judge is to consider every aspect of a case. And then actually take the information and testimony given to her and follow it. Not to follow a misguided personal vendetta of the flesh merely because she wants the world and its divorced parents to be on a 50/50 child custody schedule because…
it's just what she wants.

She states "this is what's fair… 50/50"

For who? The parents? Yes, possibly. Yet this should NOT be about being fair to the parents. Fair is defined differently from the term best interests. The court system chronically touts their favorite term of "best interests" but their actions don't back them up when they choose fair. Fair is not looking out for the children's best interests if one parent is severely lacking in parenting skills. That is criminal. "Fair" should have no place in a situation where one parent is creating havoc and stress for a child.

Just like a child responds to positive does an adult. The carrot is the children. If the parent is not where he or she needs to be, by all means give them ample time to learn those needed skills. Encourage them. Help them through counseling. Recommend they read the necessary books. Urge them to take classes.

But not to the child's detriment in the interim.
This is the problem with the
family court system today. 

Just like when a child is learning new skills they take baby steps. Then take on more. If someone doesn't know how to swim, you don't toss them in a pool. You have to hold their hand and guide them bit by bit until they can try it on their own....only then to gain more confidence and freedom with their improved skill set… even more so if their skill set is so lacking or inept its dangerous.

Standing up there it was a disheartening moment and a grave reminder of how much we need people everywhere to fight for the greater good. We need people to step up and use their voice when something is not right. We need people to become lit with passion when there is injustice in this's the only way to make a difference.

Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference. Especially in the lives of children. It's up to each of us to step up, roll up our sleeves and do what's necessary either through better parenting, giving encouragement as a mentor, step-parent, aunt or uncle or even consideration as a Judge. If we choose what's fair over what's right and best for our children that is an extremely unhealthy state of mind. Fairness limits us under the false guise of equality in our skills and morals etc. Fairness means we should always expect perfect balance in every life situation and circumstance even when were putting our children at risk.

What does that teach our children?

To always have their hand out.

To always expect equal in all situations.

To have entitlement.

To always justify.

None of that helps mold our children into responsible adults one day.

Instead it breeds a narcissistic nature without addressing behavior.

Fairness doled out in the form of child custody protects the one who is orchestrating the damage upon their children.

People who have walked this path, who have been in the depths of the courtroom battle, fighting for their children's best interests know that God is right there, He is their strength and power to forge forward…

As parents concerned for their children's safety we could care less about fair…

We care about them.


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