Child Custody Lawyers Make War, Not Love

An article in the British Daily Mail is a chilling reminder of what can happen when lawyers, not parents, control child custody cases.

child confused by arguing parentsMy fight for every father explains how lawyers created such chaos that they drove an ordinary father to the extreme of abducting his own daughter.

What’s frightening is the stark contrast between how things began and how they ended.

Simon and his wife Aneta separated on unusually good terms:

“I assumed we would have a civilized divorce and organize childcare as we’d always done – equally. We were such good friends I even helped Aneta pack and drove her to her new home.”

They had no trouble agreeing on child custody arrangements. As Simon had hoped, he and his wife agreed to have joint and equal custody of their daughter, Esti. She had two bedrooms, two sets of clothes and two lots of toys. She had the best of both worlds.

“At my home she played with her ferret, Fifi. At Aneta’s she played with Barbie dolls. There were some minor niggles. If I was late to pick Esti up one day, Aneta might punish me by being late the next time, but left to our own devices we could have worked that out.”

Then they hired lawyers to arrange their divorce.

“The second you hire lawyers you throw petrol on the problem. Little niggles get magnified. Solicitors want to make money – it’s in their interests to keep the dispute going.”

And keep it going they did, until a formerly friendly and mutually-respectful couple found themselves locked in a bitter and lengthy child custody dispute. A battle that ultimately cost Simon £20,000 ($37,000) in legal bills.

“Ours was just an ordinary little case at the outset,” says Simon. “But it got totally out of control once lawyers got involved. My story should be a warning to every parent.”

Divorcing parents must be aware of how easily lawyers can create or intensify conflict between them using the issue closest to their hearts their child. If they can agree on nothing else, parents should at least reach an agreement on child custody, make a plan, and stick to it. In fact in the US, many states now require that parents do just this, embracing a new tool for reducing conflict – the parenting plan.

Lawyers may not make much money rubber-stamping homemade child custody agreements but families will be whole lot better off.

Stay in control and win child custody with minimum heartache and expense.

Posted in: Child Custody and Support

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