Happy New Years. Welcome to 2019 and the new you. Often you hear the phrase "New Year, New You." This notion is meant to inspire change and improvement in the new year, to start fresh. The new year can be just that for unwed fathers. Make 2019 the year you change and improve yourself and your family.
'Tis the season of many, many holidays and all the adherents of all the different holidays seem to share one tradition, they travel to see family. When that family lives in another city, they travel to another city. When that family lives in another state, they travel to another state. And when that family lives in another country, they travel to another country.
Imagine finding out that you have been sued in Federal Court. Imagine that the case involves the most important thing in the whole world to you, perhaps even more important than your own life. Now imagine that, at the same time that you find out that there is a case at all, you also learned that your final trial is only one week away. Welcome to our world.
The terms "co-parenting" and "best interests of the child" are phrases that are part of our daily language in the world of custody and family law. They are also commonly thrown around as weapons between divorcing parents, often without any real tie-in with their intended meaning. As a professor once told our class, they are terms of art, so we should use them artfully!
"But I love my baby! I can't believe he's getting custody! I can't believe that he will be the person making all the important decisions in my child's life! It's like I don't matter at all!"
"She's done it again! We have a Parenting Plan that sets out the schedule. It's supposed to be my weekend with the kids and here comes some other reason I shouldn't have my weekend. Sure, last month, I needed to switch weekends because I had family coming and they wanted to see the kids, but she's now asked me to switch weekends six times this year and it's only May! And now this weekend, she wants to get the kids 3 hours earlier than she's supposed to! This is absurd!"
People do the darndest things, don't they? People sometimes say one thing and do another. The contradiction makes no sense.
I recently watched an interesting spy movie called "Bridge of Spies." Tom Hanks plays an attorney who represents an old man accused of being a Soviet spy during the Cold War era. The most memorable of the scenes depicts the attorney meeting the accused spy for the first time. They discuss the attorney's legal services. As he advises his new client of his duties to him, their conversation gets a bit interesting.
Someone recently wrote in to us:
You've heard of self inflicted injuries, right? Tonight, I'm not writing about win-win strategies which are obviously good; I'm writing about a person, a party, actively working to help the other side win, to their own detriment.