Have I tried every avenue in my power to avoid a custody dispute, and am I so sure my child is in danger that it is worth the heavy toll it will take on all of us? If my convictions are sure and clear minded, then I can proceed with authority rather than self-righteousness. For several articles on custody issues, click here.
Have I gone about the process in the best manner available to me? Have I hired competent professionals (attorney and mental health) who will represent my interests vigorously without fighting for its own sake? Do I have confidence in the evaluator we are using? I will need someone the court and I trust, and I have selected with care.
Have I prepared every step of the way? If I can answer “yes”, then I have done my leg work, I have documented my concerns, enlisted support for my case, and followed the guideposts provided for my demeanor and behavior in and out of court. These guideposts will lead me to the highest ground. Click here for another terrific article.
Have I observed my children throughout the process to gauge their reactions, and to detect when they need help coping with the legal dispute and its accompanying stresses? I am on the right trail if I have not lost sight of the reason I am doing this, and my children are still in the forefront of my thinking, feeling, and actions.
Have I made my problems my children’s? Have I done anything to undermine their relationship with the other parent; alternatively, have I given them reason not to trust or respect me? Am I willing to be party to such pain in their life, when I may be able to help ameliorate it with them? If I cut out the other parent from their life, I do get more of their time, but there is less of them because a part of them has been cut away too.
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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