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Quick Lessons About Family Law - by CustodyIQ
(Quick lessons to help you survive and have the correct frame of mind
during child custody conflicts.)
ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY
It is in the parents' and the children's best interest to avoid
attorneys, evaluators, and judges whenever possible.
In child custody litigation, the status quo arrangement carries the most
weight. This means that whomever has primary timeshare with the children
when the litigation begins is most likely to have primary timeshare when
The parent without primary timeshare at the beginning of the process is
at a tremendous disadvantage to ending up with primary timeshare or even
During child custody evaluations and court proceedings, the most
important measure is not simply an examination of which home is better.
The primary measure is "Are the current arrangements so bad for the
children that we should examine an alternative?"
False accusations run rampant in child custody matters. Defeating false
accusations is crucial.
Liars are very common in child custody matters. When it comes to child
custody, the court typically doesn't care if your ex has lied, regardless
if you can prove it.
Adultery is common in divorce. When it comes to child custody, the court
typically doesn't care if your ex cheated on you.
Taking the high road during child custody litigation does not mean that
you should abandon strategies that will help you prevail in court.
There are no guarantees about any outcome in child custody litigation.
Fairness and justice are not the foundation of child custody rulings.
Accept this and learn what does matter.
Every year, millions of Americans go through what you're facing. They
survive and so will you.
ABOUT ATTORNEYS (LAWYERS)
Just like every occupation, there are great attorneys and there are
lousy attorneys. At an initial interview with you, they will both sound
Your attorney is not your friend. Realistically, your attorney is a
legal professional who will lose interest in you as soon as you run out of
Your attorney is not your emotional therapist. If you try to get
emotional support from your attorney, he/she will charge you much more
than a therapist and will do a much worse job at it.
Your attorney is not omniscient and not infallible. It is your job to
frequently remind him/her of looming deadlines, evidence you have, and
outcomes you want.
Your attorney is not a miracle worker. The family law system is
imperfect and often unjust. A great attorney will accomplish everything
that is possible for you within an imperfect system. A lousy one will do
Your attorney's experience, personality, accessibility, organization,
and hourly rate are all irrelevant in determining his/her skill as an
attorney. The only thing that matters is if your attorney is getting
results for you.
The opposing attorney's job is to destroy your position. The opposing
attorney does not care about fairness or about justice. Nothing you do or
say will sway the opposing attorney against your ex.
Not all attorneys are great litigators who can argue well before a
judge. Not all attorneys are great negotiators who can encourage
After your case is over, your attorney will have to face your judge on
many other cases in the future. Your attorney will not risk offending the
Great attorneys will encourage you to settle whenever possible, and
litigate only when necessary. Lousy attorneys will encourage you to
litigate everything, since they will earn more.
Many attorneys will use fear as a way to keep you as a client. In truth,
you can drop your attorney at any time, and you can change your attorney
at any time.
We rarely hear about great attorneys in the news. Lousy attorneys are
the reason for harsh lawyer jokes. If you find a great attorney, refer
other people to that attorney.
Whether you win or lose, your attorney still gets paid.
ABOUT JUDGES (MAGISTRATES)
Just like every occupation, there are great judges and there are lousy
judges. If you have a great attorney, he/she can try to move your case
away from a lousy judge.
The judge is neither your friend or your enemy. The judge will make
decisions based upon evidence and the most convincing side.
The judge is human and may carry certain biases about a parent's
appearance, lifestyle, job, manner of speaking, etc. You should appear as
non-offensive as possible whenever you are before a judge.
The judge doesn't care about what's fair to parents. The judge will rule
as to what's best for the children based upon the evidence and arguments
presented, regardless of how unfair it is to either parent.
The judge has an overburdened calendar. The judge will not take the time
to examine every detail of your case to ensure precise justice prevails.
The judge wants to protect his/her career. She/he will err on the side
of conservative rulings, to avoid opportunity for appeal.
Whether you win or lose, the judge still gets paid.
ABOUT EVALUATORS (PROFESSIONALS / CHILD REP / GUARDIAN AD LITEM)
Just like every occupation, there are great evaluators and there are
lousy evaluators. If you have a great attorney, he/she can try to get your
case with a good evaluator.
The evaluator is neither your friend or your enemy. The evaluator will
make a decision based upon subjective interpretation of observances,
evidence submitted, and which parent is most convincing.
The evaluator is human and may carry certain biases about a parent's
appearance, parenting approach, lifestyle, job, manner of speaking, etc.
You should appear as non-offensive as possible whenever you are dealing
with an evaluator.
The evaluator wants to protect his/her career and reputation. She/he
will err on the side of conservative recommendations. The evaluator does
not want any attorneys or judges to view him/her as being unpredictable or
unreliable; as this would reduce future work for the evaluator.
The evaluator has an overburdened calendar. The evaluator will not take
the time to examine every detail of your case to ensure fairness prevails.
Whether you win or lose, the evaluator still gets paid.
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