3 Things that Do Not Belong in Family Court
There are some co-parenting things that should be in court and some that should not. The ones having to do with legal issues like spousal support, selling the family home, dividing family assets, or issues with the date of separation feel free to pass Go and get into court to resolve these issues in front of a Judge.
Save yourself time, aggravation, even embarrassment, and money and do not bring the following parental decision-making issues to court;
1) Deciding Your Child’s Activities
What your child does day to day when it comes to activities does NOT belong in court. Judges should not be deciding whether or not you have a pianist or a punter as an up and comer. That is for you to decide. Courts should not be the forum you come to debate and advocate for the math tutor or the student leadership club membership. These collections of decisions shape the entirety of childhood that only co-parents should make. Judges are ill-equipped to make these decisions; there are scant if any laws we can rely on to make decisions as to whether a child continues to go to private school. I get irritated as a judge when you ask me to do your job. Perhaps some even know this but are at an impasse and feel the court is their last resort.
2) Minor Parenting Schedule Changes
The same goes for running into Court for every minor time schedule change. You are the parents, you both know it is far better to take ownership of your own calendars and schedules.
Think about it, you will both need, at some point during your parenting career, to swap a weekend, change a time, cooperate and be reasonable. The sooner you realize it is a give and take and not a run to court proposition, the sooner you take charge of your life. Don’t let a stranger in a black robe decide whether or not you can have YOUR children attend your family’s annual trip to Yosemite. Work with your co-parent!
3) Philosophical Parenting Decisions
This is all the stuff that parents decide based on how they were raised, their experiences, their expectations, and what they have read and studied. As co-parents, you have to decide the best way to navigate the collection of questions and issues that arise from co-parenting.
AS for me and my house, we WILL;
- Celebrate Christmas and Chanukah
- Allow kids to group date at 16
- NO sleepovers
- Limiting our children’s’ screen time and content
- Eat healthy non-processed foods
- Be Yankee fans, Be Red Sox fans
- Eat ice cream every Friday night
Whatever it is that makes your family, YOUR transformed (two homes, one family) family. All of this mish-mosh of decisions will generationally impact your family. Traditions, decisions, rules, family histories and memories are critical for child rearing.
Understanding you are probably at your wit’s end, perhaps dealing with a high conflict situation that is at a roadblock, there is an alternative to dealing with the court system to come to an agreement. Try coParenter to resolve these issues, this is one of the main reasons we created this app! We have resolved thousands of issues on the app to date. Co-parents simply ‘GetHelp’ by requesting a live on-demand coParenter Professional to help you resolve the issue and draft an agreement, right then and there. No other app available does this.
Author: Hon. Sherrill Ellsworth (RET) - Judge Ellsworth was one of the court's most respected and admired bench officers (California). She retired from the bench to focus on having a greater impact on today’s families by making our courts more accessible, effective, and efficient.