Things that are important to parties, but not to the court

>I often hear complaints from parents who do not like how their children’s other parent treats the children. Parents think the court will respond to the complaints and fix the problem. The complaints are legitimate, but the courts hear these complaints all the time, and therefore do not consider them important enough for court action–and the court knows there is little it can do about these problems. Here are a few:
The kids come home dirty, messy, with old clothes.
The clothes I send to (the other parent) never come back
The kids are always tired when they come home.
The kids are cranky and disrespectful when they come home, and it takes me three days to get them back on track.
The kids tell me they don’t want to go to (the other parent’s house); they don’t like it there, all they do is watch TV and sit around.

Unfortunately, there is not much the court can do about these complaints, so the best thing a parent can do is try to maintain as cordial a relationship as possible with the other parent, and talk about these issues in a nonconfrontational way. It will probably be hard, and may be impossible, but it is worth a try.

Here is my favorite piece of advice to my clients who are involved in disputes with the other parent: You will sacrifice anything for your kids, right? (right) If you need shoes, and your kids need shoes, who gets the shoes? (answer 100% of the time: the kids) Sacrifices come in different forms. Your sacrifice for your kids will be to bite your tongue when you feel like criticizing the other parent. It is a real sacrifice–just like not buying something you need so your kids will have what they need.

I know, I know, much easier said than done….In sympathy, Deb