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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Stewart-Williams, MDR

Some Parents Enjoy the Drama Audience of Family Court and Seek to Harm...

Updated: Jan 24

I will be transparent and honest regardless if others decide not to be: some parents enjoy the stage and drama audience of Family Court and seek to harm the other spouse/parent. It is the reality of relationship and the reality of what actually happens in the Family Court environment. Family Court is a potential place where you can lie without consequences; you can bring as many lawsuits of modifications and enforcements that you desire without reaction; and you can disrupt the life of a spouse/parent without thought or repercussions. I say potential because it is based on the leadership of the jurisdiction and how they influence their Family Court Judges to conduct their courtrooms.

I cringe every time I hear a Family Court Judge tell parents that they have to "learn to get along." I pray in the future States and Countries will cease such verbal reprimand in their Family Courts, and understand the dichotomy of what my be transpiring before their eyes. If spouses/parents could "learn to just get along" then they would not be in their courtroom. Judges many times miss the mark that there is much more to the story than the generalized statement, but most of the time Judges do not have time to find out the actual story so they miss important elements of information.

Regardless, a spouse/parent who enjoys causing drama and seeks harm will not cease in litigation. They will seek to shop around and try to find a court actor that will become a listening ear or obtain an attorney who is excited about the no stop temperament, which brings their law practice more profit. This going back and forth to court many times has nothing to do with the child(ren), it has everything to do with drama and seeking harm to the other spouse/parent.

This consistent litigation can cause unfounded rulings, which can cause a protective parent to fight for protection and the needs of the child(ren) hence the continuation of litigation. If this is your situation or you know you will be dealing with a parent/spouse like this then it is very important to try to obtain some form of alternate dispute resolution.

Dispute Resolution such as mediation can limit the unhealthy audience of Family Court and refocus the parties to the central needs and issues at hand. In addition to refocusing on issues, it is cost efficient, time respective, and lays the foundation for handling future conflict. The reality is some you just can not mediate ALL issues with but there are some issues that can be mediated. Instead of running stright to court, try to resolve at least one issue in mediation and over time there will be limited amount of things to fight out in court. Once the issue is mediated its binding and if need be you will be able to defend what is binding and has been agreed. This can limit your time in court.

In order to have a fair mediation, make sure the mediator is actually neutral and conducts their mediation under a facilitative and/or transformative approach. Also if you are in this situation it is highly recommended that you should not be in the same room with the spouse or other parent. A good mediator will prepare and protect the space for actual resolution. The more issues that are mediatedand come to an agreement, then the less court you will have to endure. Liz Evonne Dispute Resolution Services prides itself on delivering high quality mediation services for the most complex cases. Contact us: today to learn more!

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