“Never hate your enemies. It clouds your judgment. Never let anyone know what you’re thinking.” Two wise sentences from Michael Corleone to his nephew from Godfather III. Unfortunately, this has deep, close application to family court. I’ll explain.
The family law Court system puts father and mother against each other in a legal war, and parents often try to completely destroy the co-parent because of the pain, raw emotion, and deep wounds that were inflicted from the relationship or the separation. Ideally, they’d support each other for the benefit of their child, but the reality is that the pain and emotion of the break up can be so intense that it causes aggression, irrational behavior, and destruction to one or both parents.
In that type of high conflict litigation in family court, every decision you make can impact you and have legal significance. This means you need to stop and think before you act. If you send a text or email, will it be used against you in court? If you say something over the phone, will it be repeated? If you throw a tantrum, will it be videoed?
Going into court requires thinking clearly and making good choices. Every time before you write, speak, or act, you should consider how it affects your case. It means that you need to have a clear mind and shouldn’t let emotion cloud your judgment. The emotion related to divorce, separation, parenting, and sharing children is some of the most intense, extreme, and blinding, influence which causes irrational, self-destructive behavior. It will take patience, discipline, and restraint to always think clearly and not act impulsively.
That might mean letting the other side “get away” with insulting you, busting your chops, or deliberately inconveniencing you. It often means turning the other cheek and swallowing pride for the benefit of your child and your family. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s necessary if you want to put your best foot forward in Court and as a parent.
The second part of the godfather’s advice, is never let anyone know what you’re thinking. The reason why is simple: when someone else knows what you’re thinking and feeling, then they know how to make you angry and emotional. They can manipulate you, make you look bad, control you, and gain advantages in court. Your ex wants you to make hasty, emotional, bad decisions, and will do or say things to provoke you into losing control. When you respond with anger, you’re giving the “enemy” ammunition to use against you.
Recognize this emotional vulnerability and guard against it. Every bad, emotional decision will be used as evidence against you. You don’t want to spend your precious time in court defending bad decisions and actions, you want to talk only about good parenting.
Remember the Godfather advice: don’t hate your co-parent – the emotion clouds your judgment. And don’t let your co-parent know what you’re thinking. Avoid being manipulated into angry, emotional behavior. Don’t engage; act with self-discipline and restraint; then you’ll be a better advocate in court and a better parent. If you need legal representation, click the “Request Consultation” button for a free case evaluation.