A problem many of my custody clients struggle with is what to do when the litigation is over. We’ve amassed volumes of material about the other side, fortified our own position with evidence, exhibits, and witnesses to show how we meet the needs of the children better than the other parent possibly could. And then it ends, either in a negotiated outcome of an order and decree from a judge. But it is over and time to get back to parenting.
Returning to peacetime is difficult. In almost all cases, the once-litigants are now called upon to co-parent. Where once they were guarded with information for fear of showing any weakness, they’re now expected to cooperate and be open with each other. To say this is a difficult transition is an understatement.
I firmly believe we should have our custody clients attend post-litigation counseling. We often hear about how traumatic divorce and custody litigation is on children, but it is just as harmful to the parents.
The parents who manage to leave the war behind are the ones who win the peace, and their children are better for it. But we aren’t concerned with that. Not as attorneys, not as judges, and not as the courts. We need to do better. The adversarial process is a terrible way to deal with raising children.