One of the biggest challenges facing clients who are involved in a custody dispute is remembering to keep their children, the subject of the dispute, out of it. How successful or unsuccessful you are with this challenge could make or break your position with the judge in your case.
3 important things to remember:
- While honesty and open communication is key to continuing a healthy relationship with your children, the play by play or status of your on-going custody case should never be a part of any conversation that you have with your children. Instead, reassure the children that you and your spouse are working together and will let the children know when there is resolution.
- Discussing your ex’s past transgressions or their lack of parenting skills in the presence of your children will only hurt your children. These “conversations” that you may be having with your friends or family members while your children are within earshot are what judges often refer to as “disparaging remarks” and judges have little patience or tolerance for and neither parent should disparage the other parent in front of the children. Set an example for how your children should act. While you may have nothing good to say about your spouse keep your real feelings to yourself so you not fueling the fire.
- Asking your children to choose between you and your ex is never acceptable – never. Your responsibility as a parent is to prioritize your children’s well-being before your own. Divorce makes children feel vulnerable and fearful. Reassure your children that they are important and you will always take care of them.
We believe in volunteering.
The Probate and Family Courts in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties (which are located in Cambridge and Canton) have developed a Lawyer of the Day Program in partnership with the Administrative Offices of the Court and various Bar Associations. Attorneys like us are asked to volunteer our time to provide justice to pro se litigants (i.e., those representing themselves).
As part of our firm philosophy, Suzana and I served as Lawyers of the Day in 2016 and annually before this, each providing a full day of legal services to those who appear at the courthouse and are in need assistance. It was a grueling day full of sad circumstances. My experience included two sisters in their early twenties who needed help becoming guardians for their 13 year old brother and disabled sister. Their father recently died and their mother had disappeared. The disabled sister was in a facility which wanted to transfer her but her Mother was unavailable to authorize the move. The brother was being raised by his older sisters and the school needed to know who was legally in charge. Other cases were similarly heart-wrenching.
Volunteering in the court made it clear how hard our court personnel work to help the public, and the toll it takes dealing with the circumstances of the less fortunate.
While Suzana and I volunteer our legal skills, and I volunteer as a Board member at two non-profit organizations, Patryce volunteers and serves as an Ambassador for the Newton/Needham Chamber of Commerce and at her church where she serves on the scholarship committee. She is in charge of welcoming new members to the Chamber and promoting community development. There is no question that Patryce makes them feel welcome.