Los Angeles Divorce and Family Law Attorneys: The Blog

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.

STOP IT.

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.

39 comments:

Lorraine Jacobs said...

It is really very important that lawyers should also be reminded that they are dealing with a family situation. And that there are kids that might and will be affected with the situation much more when they can hear all those arguments. Lawyers should also know their grounds and will also watch out for the welfare of their children. -www.kalkwarflaw.com

Kristo Jackal said...

In order to hire a lawyer, you must see whether he is keen of listening to you or just making haste coming to a conclusion. Always conduct a formal interview with the lawyer before hiring him.

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tyleragent said...

Thanks for sharing, I've been reading different articles and posts on what to look for when you're finding a family lawyers. And I found a few, now I'm just seeing how I would narrow down the search.

Sloane Summers said...

Before you decide on hiring a divorce lawyer, it is really important to know that he/she is ready to communicate. It is better to be open with each other and not have more problems.

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Rogoff said...

When you file a petition for divorce. Child custody becomes major issues and things get worse. A family divorce lawyer is very necessary for solving these issues before the proceedings of court.

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Child custody and visitation arrangements are among some of the most important issues that a court must decide in
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Alena Mauer said...

My parents had a two year divorce. The whole family was so glad when it was over. It was prolonged because they were indecisive and they didn't have the best lawyers. That's why it is important to do research on lawyers, especially for something of that matter.

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Edmond Vandergraff said...

My brother hired a lawyer a couple of years ago who really took advantage of them. From now on before I hire a lawyer I always make sure that I do my research. I haven't been divorced, and don't plan on it anytime soon, but it's always important to keep these things in mind.
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Claudia Rosenburg said...

I can see how it would be bothersome to deal with parents like this! My friend went through a divorce and I have never said an unkind thing about her ex-husband. I find this really impressive because the reason they aren't together is because he left her to live with another woman. While I'm sure there are a lot of people who disparage their ex, there are those few who don't!
Claudia Rosenburg | http://www.talawgroup.com/family-law/

Ron Johnson said...

Disparagement is a tough issue. There are many strong and complicated emotions in divorce cases. It's hard for people to always promote love and respect in those times.
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Paul Bear said...

Negativity is an easy trap to fall into. The only person you can control is yourself; bitterness and attacks won't make you happy. Glad to see some comments here that indicate forgiveness and restraint are alive and well.

Paul | luntlegal.com

Thiago daLuz said...

I wouldn't even call that a pet peeve. I mean, it should be common sense that that isn't how you behave in general, let alone a court or legal setting. I feel bad for divorce and custody lawyers that have to deal with that kind of thing. That takes some serious patience! Thiago | http://www.mirawhitelaw.com

Jennifer Davies said...

I completely agree. You don't have to feel like this is a "pet peeve"-- lawyers deserve better treatment. Even in hard situations like a divorce, people can behave decently towards one another. It seem like lawyer are always the ones caught in the middle.

Jenn | http://www.martinlawyers.ca/about.php

Andrew Hall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seamus Lowe said...

I think it's true for most cases that being responsible and mature in your actions in a legal case helps you more than anything else. I've known a few people who have had to go through some family law cases before. I saw a difference between those who were responsible and weren't contentious and those who were contentious.
-Seamus | http://www.charlescooperlawyers.com.au

Tony De Azevedo said...

My brother got divorced, and him and his wife had quite the contentious case. I was really glad that they didn't have kids yet who would be affected by seeing their parents fight so much. I am really glad that I wasn't their lawyer at the time. http://www.londonlawofficene.com/practice-areas

Brittany Matthews said...

I think it makes a huge difference in your case if you act out of line. I have seen some pretty interesting cases where the verdict was not expected though too. I do not envy the job of family law attorneys. It has got to be rough. http://www.mercedeschut.com/divorce

Sophia Henry said...

Very good post to understand that what should the people has to follow when they are looking for any expert family lawyer. At the consulting time they also have to clear every single point either it would not be so big.


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Talmage Dangerfield said...

My wife and I are getting a divorce pretty soon, and we have 3 kids. I'll makes sure that I don't do any of these things, because I can really see how that would get really annoying to the lawyer. I'm sure that our case won't be very contentious though. http://www.buhlerlawoffice.com/Family-Law-Divorce/Divorce.shtml

Hickory Poscery said...

Divorces and custody cases can be some of the most heated, stressful cases of all. I am glad that I have never personally had to go through one. Do divorce lawyers have to do any extra schooling or anything?

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Sophia Henry said...

Disparagement is a tough issue. There are many strong and complicated emotions in divorce cases,It's hard for people to always promote love and respect in those times.But rest all happens as destiny.

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Jerry Boggs said...

I wish that all divorce lawyers included your clause in their custody agreements. My parents had an amicable divorce, and I had a happy childhood as a result. I can't imagine how hard it is for children whose parents disparage each other.

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Sophia Henry said...

Yes each and every small details should be provided to lawyers who are handling your case. I am sure this kind of approach will help in case.

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Jerry Boggs said...

It also bothers me to see children caught up in contentious custody battles. When my ex and I divorced, we did everything we could to keep the children out of it. Thankfully, neither of us wanted to deprive the other of parental rights.

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Sophia Henry said...

divorce is not the solution for any misunderstanding if the relationship can be save. Otherwise if you are going to be separate then you may hire good consultant cum family lawyer for getting right decisions.


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