After the trial, after listening to all of that testimony, win or lose, you have to continue to operate as a family. You will have to attend your children’s Bar Mitzvahs, First Communions, school plays, soccer games, and even their weddings….a whole lifetime of activities in which your children need both you and your spouse to participate. Maintaining a civil relationship will be very difficult after a contested custody trial. Click here for some advice from Dr. Phil.
In order to consider what you need a trial, you can visit the court and ask the clerk where and when any custody trials will be held. Most cases are open to the public, and you can sit in and watch the proceedings.
Assuming you’ve considered the costs to your children and yourself, examined your own motivations, and still decided it’s best to proceed with a contested custody case, you have a great deal of planning and work to do to assist your chances of success. That planning requires understanding exactly what a contested custody case entails.
Telling Your Children About Why You Are Involved in a Court Battle
You should explain to your child that Mom (or Dad) and you have become very angry at each other, and that you are no longer able to make decisions together right now. The one thing you agree on is that you both want very much to have the child in your life as much as possible from day to day. You know the child can’t be in two places at once, so you are asking the judge to help you make a plan. The court will make the decisions, and Mom and Dad have agreed to abide by them. If the situation includes a mental illness, you might wish to add, if your child is capable of understanding, that Mom/Dad is not well (describe the type of illness) and is not able to make good decisions right now. You have asked the court to help you because the court is neutral and will help find the least detrimental situation for your child. Reassure your child that the decision is not in his or her hands. Click here for another terrific article.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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