FAMILY LAW TALKING POINTS

 Law Office of Barnet G. LeVine, Esq. 

               Children in court

Do not exploit/use your children to support your legal claim: To that end, 

  • (i) do not ​bring your children to court if their presence isn't legally compelled (i.e., subpoenaed), or otherwise necessary to further a legal --and prudently considered-- claim;     

  • (ii) do not coach your children to misrepresent things; and

  • iii) do not mistake your child's best interest with "besting" the other parent: ​the "best interest" legal burden was crafted to be responsive to children's needs, not to supply an effort to "burden" or undermine the other parent.   ​​​​

 
 

                   The "Other Parent"  

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  • Words have meaning: Refer to the other parent, as "the other parent;" rather than "your ex/former partner."  This can --at the very least-- change both your perception of them, and their perception of how you view them, AND help define your relationship away from its former intimate background to a collaborative parental exchange. Hopefully.

  • Do not broadcast the other parent's errors...  Although the same could induce sympathy, or "staged" indignation among (false) friends, it  truthfully does not help you: ​Invalidating others does NOT validate you. ​​

  • Do not "bad mouth" the other parent to, or in front of your child(ren).  This includes implying things as well as expressing (saying) them. For instance, lauding yourself for being the only "real parent" in your child(ren)'s life, is hardly a subtle slight of the other parent (not to mention that  "bad mouthing ​the other parent," is perhaps something that "real parents" shouldn't do). Note: if the other parent is disparaging you to, or in front of your child(ren), you can both ask the court to order a behavioral order or an injunction to that effect, and hold the other parent in contempt for violating such an order, which is a sanctionable offense (for more information as to contempt petitions and proceedings, please see the "Legal points" page of this site). ​ Keep in mind, It's your child's job to honor his or her parents (both parents); and it's your job to not dishonor the other parent or yourself.

  • The "other" parent's lawfully established custodial and/or visitation rights are not subject to your approval:  

  • State legislatures craft rules to protect the relationships between children and their parents. Many of these rules descend from scripture, and are constitutionally inscribed in an uninterrupted line of cases that predate this country's foundation (from Solomon to the Chancellor courts, to the right to raise your children being deemed "fundamental" in the U.S. Supreme Court,  and eventually on the lap of state supreme court justices hearing appellate matters citing doctrines older than the courts themselves, these rights aren't illusory, or subject to one's good whim.  Having recognized that, please understand: you may dislike your child's other parent; and you may have what you consider "well founded" reasons for it. But that dislike in of itself is insufficient to confiscate either that other parent's rights to the child, or the child's rights to that parent (If your child is in danger, call the police, file emergency motions, etc. and articulate the object of the threat/harm, not merely your resulting conclusion that you dislike the other parent because of it). ​

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                                  Growth...

  • Learning from the past, instead of living in it:

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  • (i) Do not dwell in the past:

  • (a)  Do not “perpetuate” your sadness over a past relationship… (e.g. playing sad songs "over and over again," nostalgically recalling ("reminiscing") over past moments, or drawing from some cinematic impression that the relationship would not end, etc. That's not confronting a problem; that's indulging in it  (it's as counterintuitive as trying to escape from the same place you're running towards...). A good way to avoid that traction-less route, is to not engage in it: The answer is no more sophisticated than "don't do it."     ​

  • (b) Don't try to cast yourself in a  "vulnerable" light, whether it's to surreptitiously cast your former partner in some vitiating role, and/or to paint yourself faultless. Remember: Pretending to be weak doesn't make you "innocent." Much more can be said, and to not interfere with your development of this point, your thoughts are invited to expand on this...

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  •  (ii) Do not try to justify your former partner's transgressions:

  • (a) Do not romanticize your former partner: e.g., (insert ex's name) doesn’t put up with _____, or "that’s just how he is..."  That's scripted: An assigned role designed to conceal or romanticize your former (or current) partner's transgressions.

  • (b) Do not make excuses... Your former partner went through a troubling childhood, trying past, etc.  Of course they did.  Everyone did.  And it helps inform what we've overcome... But it doesn't have to define whom we've become.  

  • Note: This isn't some license to not forgive; rather, it's a call to NOT engage in willful blindness and/or a distorted reconstruction of misconduct (likewise, the purpose isn't to keep some running ledger of your former partner's faults; instead it's to prevent inadvertently supporting, or having a misleading or distorting influence upon those subjected to, abused, or even exposed to those transgressions (especially the young who often adopt distorted views they're exposed to).  

  • ​In concluding, your growth is not subject to your former partner/other parent's' approval: and you shouldn't assume or expect others, including your former partner/the other parent to be impartial to or accept your growth; indeed, not everyone is rooting for you.  But notwithstanding that, it shouldn't be beyond your dignity to treat others, including  your former partner or the other parent the way you'd like to be treated, whether or not they do the same, lest your "growth" be in name only.