Adversarial family law system.

The current system in place is adversarial. There is no other word to describe it. It’s a fact of life, sometimes things happen and divorce occurs. It becomes problematic when there are children involved. Just how problematic is up to the parents involved.

From the beginning of initiating a summons for dissolution of marriage the system designates the parties as Respondent and Plaintiff. There is still the “belief” that the one who files first with the most heinous accusations will win. That is simply not the case. California is a no fault divorce state. No one really cares who accuses someone of what unless it impacts on the safety, health and welfare of children. Children are not a prize to be won at all cost, in place of a monetary value that normally civil cases allocate to the prevailing party.

Most parents are reasonable. They recognize that despite a divorce and a separation of ways that children want both of them. Most parents can come up with a parenting plan out of court and settle any issues with a stipulated agreement, rather than incurring the $100,000 attorney fees that have become the norm. It’s relatively easy to come up with a basic one designating time share of children and legal responsibilities in the form of health care, school choices and day care providers. Forms are available such as the joint legal forms, joint physical forms and holiday schedule forms, which can be attached to an agreement allowing parents to make choices which suit them as most people really do not want anyone telling them what to do with their children.

Even when there is a minor disagreement there is a concept called parallel parenting, which allows parents to, for example, use their own medical providers for their children, and parents can parent alongside each other, without asking the other for consent.

It becomes a problem when a court is your only choice. Some parents deal with a “parent” on the other end who has made it clear that they will never do anything without court intervention. They’ve threatened the other parent, they’ve used children as tools of revenge and abuse and they simply will violate everything that a court tells them to as it just does not apply to them. It’s hard to fathom that someone actually hates you to the point that they want to kill you with the sole purpose of eradicating you from the lives of your children.

Normal, reasonable people just don’t think that way as they genuinely care about their children and realize the misery these actions would cause their children.

In these cases the adversarial system often fails to recognize that there can be no resolution without court intervention as the court generally expects co-parenting no matter under what circumstances. Anyone with a modicum of common sense will realize that there simply is no way to facilitate contact with someone who wants you dead. Parenting with someone who has made it clear that they want to kill you is impossible as is leaving the children in the environment that fosters that kind of hatred. It just increases the hatred that already exists and exposes the children to additional hatred against the other parent that they are already exposed to. Abuse and substance abuse issues add another dimension to the above, which cannot be explained to anyone unless you have actually lived in that environment.


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