The opposing litigant, the lawyer, and witnesses aren’t your friend. And just because your friends and family love you and want to support you, doesn’t mean that they’re always helpful. The other side is there at court to present evidence against you and ask for something different than what you want. However polite or even friendly the other side is outside of court, remember that when your case is called, they’re going to be telling the judge why you shouldn’t get what you want. You’re in litigation.
“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 the Godfather. 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.
Your ex knows how to upset you. He or she may start pushing your buttons in court to cloud your judgment, because then you respond with anger, and the emotions work against you. What can you do to combat this?
My wife uses the phrase, “poke the beast.” When I’m in a bad mood and holding back my rage, and then my son starts needling me, my wife says to him, “Thomas, don’t poke the beast.”
Appearance shouldn’t matter when it comes to parenting, but it does. The judge might have only 10 minutes or less to make a decision about your and your child’s future. The judge wants you in court so you can be visually observed, so how you look matters.