As you're going through a custody case it is important to make life as peaceful as possible for your children. One of the ways that you can do this is to keep them out of the middle of the litigation. It's my opinion that kids should not be in the middle of your case issues.
I know some of you have older kids and there's just no way that you can shield them from the litigation. Other people have children who are going to be interviewed by the court or you are having custody evaluations and the kids know that something's going on. Sometimes there's no way you can shield the children from it. But I have so many cases that I see where people have their children right in the middle of their cases. People are involving the kids and giving them a play-by-play.
Although the kids may say it's not stressful it really is stressful to them. Think about how stressful your case is to you! Kids need to be kids. There are two things you can do for yourself make your life better and your children's lives better. The first one is to keep them out of the case and the second one is to just be present for your child.
I'm trying to do that for my daughter. I want to be more present for her. It is really hard because we have so much going on in our lives. I don't have a custody case going on in my personal life but I do have a lot of cases in my professional life. So I know it's easy to get overwhelmed by what's going on in your case.
It is a challenge but I want you to try and put that aside when you are spending time with your children. It’s a blessing to be able to spend time with them. I also want to challenge you to try to take the emotion out of your case. It's so easy to get wrapped into what we think is right what we think is best or what our agenda is in our situation. We all have agendas and we each have our own agenda. We have what we think is best but I really want you to take a look at yourself and ask “Am I being honest about what's best for the children?” If you're being honest with yourself you may realize that what you're asking for is not best for the children.
I want to challenge you to restructure your thinking and restructure your strategy to come up with something that is better for the children. This does not mean giving up or compromising your position but just to recalibrate. Often I deal with people who are excellent parents and excellent people. I know that they have the best intentions at heart but they take positions that are not reasonable or positions that are not in the best interest of the children.
This is guided a lot of times purely by emotion. When you're still harboring some of that emotion from the relationship and what went wrong it's hard to see clearly.
Again be present with those you love the most because the fact is you don't know when it's going to be your last day on earth or when it's going to be their last day on earth.
I want to share a little story with you. It was the beginning of December my parents were visiting because it was Grandparents Day at my daughter's school. We had such a great and fun day with them. That was on a Friday and after our day they to go home. (They live in Northern Arizona) About an hour and a half after they left I was contacted by my cousin. My cousin asked me if knew where my Dad was? I responded no, why, what's going on? It was rare to hear from this cousin and she told me that Aunt Virgie went down. I said, “What do you mean she went down?” What had happened is essentially she had passed out and she came to enough to call 9-1-1. But then the paramedics came and they had to break into the house.
My aunt was 80 years old and the most vibrant person and very healthy. She was an Avon lady for most of my childhood and up until now. I called my Dad to tell him that Aunt Rosemary was trying to get ahold of him. My dad called me five minutes later and my dad was like so strong tough guy said she had died. Nobody ever would have guessed that he talked to her that morning and she was the pillar of health. Enjoy every minute with your family to enjoy every minute with the people you love. I want you to be present with your kids and be honest with yourself. So those are two resolutions I'm asking you to challenge yourself to do in 2020.