Choose Your Battles

*the following is a repost from 7-3-11

Just as you should do with a teen, you have to choose which battles are worth the fight in Family Court. It will be expensive and exhaustive to go to court for every single dispute that comes up. The Family Court cannot solve all of your problems for you. They may issue court orders, but some of those orders are going to be unenforceable. Telling the judge that your ex is not following a court order may help you in a future court proceeding, but there are no court police to enforce court orders.

It is rare for the police to do anything about a Family Court order. Many of the disputes around court orders occur on weekends and holidays during exchange times for the children. Unfortunately, even if you have a Parenting Consultant or Parenting Time Expediter, they will not be available to help at these times. You will rarely get an answer at their office over the weekend or on a holiday. There are going to be some things that make you mad, but you will have to shrug some of these off. There may also be some things that you’d want to take to court, but if you wouldn’t be able to prove it, you’d be wasting your time.

So what should you take to court and what shouldn’t you?

If your children are being abused, you definitely have to go to court.

If you have had a substantial change in income and need to have child support changed, you should go to court.

If there is extreme interference in your child’s school or extracurricular activities, you should go to court

If your ex will not follow the visitation schedule, it might be time to go to court

If your ex is consistently not exercising visitation it may be a good time to go to court, but it may be best to enjoy the peace and your children.  Remember though, if your ex suddenly becomes involved again, they have that right.  

What are some court remedies for the above?

A change in custody

Supervised visitation

Request a Parenting Time expediter or Parenting Consultant (an Expediter is much less invasive than a Parenting Consultant).

The help of an organization like perspectives where exchanges can be monitored. There are other places to do this also. Life’s Doors Mediation can monitor exchanges, too.

Keep in mind that I am not an attorney. I am sharing my life experiences and the experiences of others that I have witnessed. I know how the court works and I know the trappings of the Family Court System and also its limitations. Always consult your attorney for when to take your ex to court and to find what, if any, remedies are available to you.

Attorneys and Court Authorities are expensive so make it worth it. Do not contact these people for every little issue. Keep a journal of the visitation issues you are having. Keep a list going for the times you have to talk to your attorney. Add minor issues to the list to ask later. Don’t call over every little thing. Try to save up and ask everything on the list when the big deals have to be dealt with. Many times, you will get upset about a dispute over visitation, but once its over, your attorney will not be able to do much about it. You would be best off to put it behind you unless you think the court can help prevent it from happening in the future.

If you are struggling and are frustrated with your situation, join a support group or take a class through the Coparent Coach. Give me a call if you’d like to see me for life strategy planning for help with dealing with an ex or with school or career choices. There are many additional things that I can help with.

No matter what, pick and choose your battles. It is a very rough road to spend years in the Family Court System. Don’t do it if you don’t have to. When times get tough, give me a call. Remember that when one door close, another opens. Let’s figure out how to get where you want to go in life.

*Photo: Plan A Plan B Chalkboard by Grant Cochrane


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