Imagine you are the Judge and have to decide with whom a child should live.
Dad says he is the better parent, and Mom says, are you crazy, of course the kids should live with ME.
When you ask each of them why with you, they both say, “cause it’s what is best for them.”
Well, that is a vague answer, and doesn’t give you as the Judge, much guidance. In fact, both parents may have something to offer. But who is right or wrong is rarely clear cut.
You as the Judge have to give both parents time to present their case. Mom and Dad can whole heartedly believe each is best, but the opinion that matters is the Judge.
You, as Judge, need to look for objective factors, such as
- Does the parent get the child to school on time?
- Are there tardies and absences?
- How is the child performing at school? Too tired?
- Is one parent trying to avoid child support, or the other using child support to supplement their own household?
- Is a parent playing games with discovery requests or other deadlines.
- Are medical and dental appointments made regularly? Who attends? What hours do the parents work?
- What child care is available in absence of a parent.
Many factors come into play. In addition, clean hands is important.
That means litigants and parents shouldn’t bicker like children and expect to get your way.
If Mom/Dad responds to nasty texts by sending their own nasty texts, don’t expect to say, “Well she/he did it first.”
Once a parent starts throwing mud, they have lost. Take the high road and expect all texts, emails, phone calls etc to be shown to the Judge and act accordingly. It’s hard in the heat of the moment, but will pay off with better results and happier children.
Remember, imagine YOU are the Judge and think about what behavior in and out of the court room you would want a child exposed to.
Kelly Koch Attorney at Law
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