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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Divorce Lawyer's Biggest Pet Peeve in Contentious Custody Cases

Divorce And Custody Attorney Kelly Chang Rickert Discusses Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller's Custody Battle from Kelly Chang Rickert on Vimeo.

My Biggest Pet Peeve in Contentious Custody Cases

In every one of my custody agreements, I have a version of the below clause:

"Disparagement: Mother and Father shall encourage the children to love, respect and honor the other parent and the other parent's family and neither of them shall alienate or attempt to alienate or diminish the affections of the children from the other parent, or disparage or allow others to disparage the other parent in the presence of the children. Both parents shall promote a healthy and ongoing relationship between the children and both of their extended families. The children shall not be involved in or exposed to any animosities that may exist between the parents, or involving their respective families, friends or other parents."

I have been litigation custody cases for over 14 years.  There are several things I detest, but the biggest pet peeve I have is when parties disparage each other.  I CANNOT STAND IT.

I understand that your ex, your baby mama, or your baby daddy has faults.  I understand he/she is the reason for your misery, and he/she is doing everything in the world to screw up your children.

I have heard it all.  He doesn't bathe/wash/feed my children.  She doesn't discipline/encourage/watch their diets.  He doesn't dress them warmly.  She overdresses them.  He is negligent. She is smothering.  He is an idiot.  She is a b**ch.  He/she is a poor excuse for a human being.

He/She is always going to be the father/mother of your child/children.  You can't change that.

When you disparage the other parent in front of the children, you are murdering them inside.  You are telling these precious children that they are worthless.  That it's THEIR fault.


I am repeatedly quoted in the media telling the audience that there is NOTHING that Judges hate more than disparagement of the other side.  That in order to prevail in a custody case, you have to be the parent that is MORE willing to co-parent  - the reasonable, loving one.

If you choose to listen to ONE piece of advice from a custody lawyer choose THIS one: DO NOT BASH the other parent.