Better Not Bitter:
Can We Talk About Family Court? (VIDEO)
Like a lot of other bloggers and authors, I have a Facebook page where I post motivating quotes and sayings, as much for myself as for the people who follow me. Surprisingly, a pretty good portion of my followers are men, many of whom are co-parenting, or attempting to co-parent children with their ex-spouses. One of those guys recently made me aware of a new documentary about divorce and the family court system that is narrated by Dr. Drew titled, Divorce Corp, “which exposes collusive practices in the U.S. family court system.” My Facebook follower is dealing with an issue in family court that is negatively impacting his ability to co-parent and he asked for my thoughts.
So I read this article and watched the trailer. I will probably purchase the DVD because I know people, like my Facebook follower, who weren’t able to come to terms with their estranged spouses and had no choice but to let a judge make decisions about their lives and their families. I’d like to learn more about the extreme cases in the documentary. In addition, I hope the documentary helps to increase the dialogue about a subject that is long overdue to be addressed.
We stood to enter the court at our divorce hearing after 21 months of separation including two unsuccessful mediation attempts, depositions, lawyers and fees. Then thankfully 5 minutes prior to facing the judge and having to rely on her decision-making skills, my ex and I came to agreement and owned our own fate.
People who aren’t able to come to an agreement and end up in the family court system often have a hard time co-parenting. I agree with Dr. Drew that something needs to be done about family court. I think courts should have the role of encouraging people to try to work together after divorce for the benefit of the children, not turning one parent against the other.
Part of my decision to come to agreement with my spouse was based on horror stories I heard of everyday people, both men and women who have been wronged by the court. I was afraid to have someone who knew nothing about me or my children and our situation, except what they read in the papers presented and would hear in the court proceeding, make decisions that could affect us forever. Although it stung a little, I decided to compromise – definitely more than I wanted to, but not half as bad as it could have been if the judge had ruled against me.
I did it both for monetary as well as control/custody issues and, although my road as a custodial parent has been tough sometimes, we made it through and are now in a pretty good spot. And my ex and I are kind to one another (about 99% of the time) and our children are happy and a lot more well-adjusted than they were when I was unhappy. I don’t think that would have happened had we not made that agreement and a family court judge had determined critical decisions about our future.
I’m wondering if there might be a higher percentage of co-parenting failure for people who have to chose that route. What are your thoughts about family court and successful co-parenting?
Wilma Jones lives in Arlington, VA with her teenage son. Her oldest son is a college student not too far away. She is divorced after 19+ years of marriage. Wilma is a speaker and author of “Living Happier After: 20 Women Talk About Life After Divorce.” She blogs at Living Happier After.com. She’s on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter at @LivingHappierAf. Get her new FREE ebook here.
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