The following is an inquiry that was just posted on Lawyer.com and an example of the kind of thinking that tends to harm children:
"I need a lawyer for a child custody case. I am looking to get full custody."
Please don't think that such a statement is unusual. In fact, not a day goes by in which I don't receive such an inquiry from a potential client.
It's all about what parents WANT, without any concern for what is in the "best interest of the child."
Sadly, parents BELIEVE that what they WANT is in the best interest of the child. Not only are those concepts not one and the same, but the other parent almost always WANTS something different and BELIEVES that what they WANT is in the child's best interest.
While both parents battle each other to try and prove that what they WANT is in the best interest of the child, they spend their child's college tuition, exacerbate the conflict, increase the distrust between them, destroy their ability to effectively co-parent, and harm the child.
For clarity, when parents act in such a manner, the only person involved in the case responsible for assessing what's in the child's best interest is the judge. Furthermore, the judge has such limited knowledge of the family that their subjective determination may or may not actually be in the best interest of the child.
I really will never understand how parents can be so harmful to their children and delude themselves to the contrary.
Oh, and in case you're interested, I won't even bother scheduling consultations with such individuals. In fact, just yesterday, I had an interesting conversationsation with someone who had made just such an inquiry. The conversation went as follows:
Potential Client: "I am seeking SOLE custody of MY son and would like to schedule a consultation with you."
My Response: "I'm afraid that I don't handle such matters."
Potential Client: "Aren't you a family law attorney?"
My Response: "Yes."
Potential Client: "If you're a family law attorney, what do you mean that you don't handle such matters?"
My Response: "My brothers and I were all children of a litigated divorce. We have very personal knowledge of just how much harm parents cause their children when they have such an attitude. Furthermore, after 25 years of practicing law, I am very well-aware of the harm parents cause their children when they litigate their divorce and get into custody battles."
Potential Client: "But you're supposedly a family law attorney."
My Response: "I most certainly am. I work to help parents to resolve such issues on their own, through mediation, collaboration, and/or negotiation."
Potential Client: "I'm not interested in working with HIM. Would you at least give me a referral to an attorney who handles such things?"
Ah, as an aside, children typically have two parents. Therefore, it speaks volumes when a parent refers to their child as "My son", "My daughter", "My children", "My kids", etc. Oh, and referring to the father as "him" is de-parenting him.
For what it's worth and even though I believe it will continue to fall upon deaf ears, parents, I would think twice before engaging in a custody battle over your children!
Allow me to quote the following from the American Academay of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) that was posted on November 3, 2015:
"The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has announced plans to distribute the Telly Award-winning film,
Talk to Strangers, in association with its writer/director, Connecticut attorney and filmmaker Larry Sarezky. The 25-minute dramatic film tells the story of a sister and her younger brother struggling to navigate the child custody evaluation process typically used in family courts throughout the United States.
Powerfully depicting the ordeal through the eyes of the children themselves, the film features an original score co-written by Sarezky and Grammy-winning composer Brian Keane. The result is uniquely inspirational and serves as a cautionary message to parents and lawyers on the brink of traumatic child custody battles. Accompanying the film is a guide written by Sarezky with contribution from the AAML to help parents avoid those battles and other high conflict divorces.
'This film is undeniably moving and offers an invaluable portrayal of the ways in which a custody battle directly impacts children who are caught in the middle,' said James T. McLaren, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. 'The AAML does not typically endorse outside products, but we felt so strongly about Talk to Strangers that we sought out filmmaker Larry Sarezky to join in his efforts. It is truly one of the most powerful tools I have seen that can encourage parents and professionals to pause and more thoughtfully consider how custody battles affect children.'"
I am absolutely thrilled to see Larry Sarezky's award-winning film about child custody being distributed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys.
Larry showed me this film quite a while ago and my response is included on the website for the film, which was as follows: "This film hit so close to home for me, that it actually caused me to tear up several times.”
Sadly, however, parents will continue ignoring such information because they each BELIEVE that what they WANT is in the "best interest of their children." Oh, let's not neglect the fact that their fear and anger toward each other "guarantees aggressive lawyers a secure future."