Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
THE BLOG

Why YOU, Not a Judge, Should Resolve Child-Related Disputes

Family-focused divorce attorney Larry Sarezky is passionate about keeping parents out of court when handling disputes over child custody. Based on decades of experience Larry knows that long-term outcomes work out better when the decisions are made by the parents themselves rather than left to the legal system.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Family-focused divorce attorney Larry Sarezky is passionate about keeping parents out of court when handling disputes over child custody. Based on decades of experience Larry knows that long-term outcomes work out better when the decisions are made by the parents themselves rather than left to the legal system.

Most parents continue to co-parent their children after divorce. Except for circumstances where children are at risk, Larry strongly emphasizes that parents have the responsibility to put the their children first by working out a parenting plan that is in the children's best interests.

Larry's message: If you are unable to resolve children's issues with your co-parent, a judge will. There are some very good reasons to avoid that:

• The custody evaluation process can humiliate, frighten and compromise your children, and cause them enduring emotional harm.
• Custody cases are tremendously expensive. Parents must not only pay their own lawyers, but they may also have to pay attorneys to represent their children and/or guardians ad litem who are appointed in custody cases for children who are too young to express their feelings and preferences.
• Trial outcomes are difficult to predict.
• A judge's orders after trial rarely contain the crucial details that parents need in their agreements.
• Your inability to make decisions regarding your children leaves them with a poor parenting model.

A high conflict divorce all but destroys the chances for a constructive co-parenting relationship after the divorce. Spare your children the ordeal of the court custody evaluation process and a prolonged divorce case that mires them in anxiety and uncertainty. You can accomplish that by dealing with child-related issues in a mindful, productive way, as follows:

• Agreeing with your spouse on a Parenting Goal Statement that memorializes your common beliefs and goals regarding dealing with the children during the divorce
• Communicating clearly with your spouse about the kids, and confirming important communications in writing
• Seeking advice from a child therapist or divorce coach regarding child-related issues
• Using a mediator, including those available through court systems at little or no cost, to help you resolve child-related matters as soon as possible
• Maintaining as much of the children's routine as possible
• Telling your lawyer that you want to resolve any outstanding child-related issues at the very first opportunity.

Divorce challenges parents to overcome obstacles and make sound decisions regarding their children. Parents able to do that offer their children a wonderful parenting model. Parents who can't, allow life-altering decisions regarding their children to be made by a stranger.

The Child-Centered Divorce Network strongly endorses Larry's message as well as his new Telly Award-winning film, Talk To Strangers. The film dramatically makes the point that children pay a high price when parents choose the courts to make custody decisions. Visit www.ChildCustodyFilm.com to learn more about protecting children during divorce, and to preview the film.

The Child-Centered Divorce Network resources include a free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting which is available at www.ChildCenteredDivorce.com.

MORE IN Divorce