Should I Litigate against my former spouse to gain custody over my children?
A guest post by Dr. Kristine Turner…
In high conflict cases where parents don’t see eye to eye, where litigation is used, no matter what plan is ordered one of the parents is likely to be unhappy with it. Parents tend to blame each other for their child(ren)’s problems, the ‘”Well, if he had less time with Mom or Dad, he wouldn’t be having these problems”, is a common phrase and so the conflict continues.
When you go through litigation it opens up both parents, making them vulnerable to the point where people start examining every part of themselves. It’s terrible, it’s draining financially and emotionally and the children are often dragged into the middle. Unfortunately, this can go on for years before a judge makes a determination. In these cases everything seems to get negotiated; no one can give an hour without wanting to get an hour in return. Parents fight over times, they fight when a parent returns a child ten minutes late, they call the police and create further stress for their families. These parents choose to remain in high conflict in court, involving attorneys until the money runs out.
So, what’s the cost to doing this to yourself and your children? The cost to children is extremely high, both physically and mentally; failing grades, poor behavioral choices, relationship difficulties, etc. Children want to love both parents, in a relatively stress free environment, and when they can’t they suffer the consequences. Adults suffer too. The stress that is placed on your body every time you read a nasty email, listen to nasty comments, engage in a legal battle, etc. is overwhelming. It can take 72 hours for our bodies to break down the chemicals that get released into our bodies when we encounter stressful situations.
Ifyouareengagingintheseactivitiesmorethantwiceaweek,youareconstantlylivinginstress. Ironically,thisdoesn’t include the normal stress involved in everyday life, the continued conflict is above and beyond this stress. So what can you do? Try Parallel Parenting. Stop interacting with the other parent. Quit reading every email, respond to the bare minimum. A one sentence business-like response is usually plenty. Parents in high conflict won’t listen to each other’s email advice anyway, so why bother to send it when a one sentence email or a few words in a text is enough to conduct most parenting business. You don’t need to co-parent if it only adds to the stress and conflict in your situation. The next best alternative is parallel parenting. Each parent does their own thing with the child(ren) during their parenting time. There is very little need to make joint decisions. Act as if the children are yours alone during your parenting time and the other parent will do the same during their parenting time. Limit any joint decisions to emergency only type decisions, and limit the conversation between the two of you! Work towards a peaceful life for you and your child. Avoid stress and the other parent at all costs!