Archives for October 2012

Golden Rule or Gold Rules?

You already know the answer.  When you choose how someone should treat you, it’s the Golden Rule.

But what about in a contest, especially in a high stakes contest such as in a divorce or in a child custody dispute?

Should the truth count – because that is what the children are counting on, so that they benefit from all both parents can give them?   Or should it be a matter of who is able to wield the most influence, especially the most HIDDEN influence?

What about loyalty and honesty toward clients – especially clients who are focused on protecting and providing for children?

Should Fiduciary Duty be expected, and if that duty is absent, should it be looked at closely?

This is just a sampling of what is being revealed about our Family Court system, as investigated by My Advocate Center and an ever-increasing number of parents and interested reporters.  Our work continues this month surrounding the fallout for children caught in this gap between truth and “other” influences.  The case studies resulting from this work are compelling, so please schedule time with one of our advisors if you would like to learn more.

Then, please turn to the children of the parents in these case studies.  Understand what this means for them when family conflict is handled poorly, or when loyalty and honesty are withheld from parents in high-stakes disputes.

Let’s ask that more professionals apply the Golden Rule around upholding duty, applying their best effort to helping children receive the best that BOTH parents can give them.  WHY would you NOT want to allow that to happen?  

Where we see that this is not happening, and children are being damaged, we are simply inviting these professionals to join us in shifting this problem.  Because it IS a very large, very high-impact problem.   It is time to do better here, and it is possible to be both successful, profitable, influential…AND to uphold the real Needs of Children.

We are here to guide Parents, Professionals and Policy Makers for the benefit of families who are transitioning through and out of conflict.

Let’s work together to ensure that the family’s resources go toward helping their children.

Isn’t that the BEST use of the Golden Rule?

 

Study highlights Issues that overlap Child Custody & Family Violence

An author we follow participated in this study – on a topic that does not cross your mind unless you have experienced a loss in Family Court.   The study is long but worth reading if you are concerned about how the legal process often does more harm than good where there are issues overlapping between family violence and child custody.

We are working on responses to this study, as well as additional research and case studies, and including other reports such as the study done by the CDC that reveals how far reaching these issues are in our community – not somewhere far away, but right here.  These issues are affecting your neighbors, the people in line with you at the grocery store… regardless of what part of town you live in, and possibly even in your own family.   It is uncomfortable for most of us to face, but we must if anything is going to improve for our children.  It is not some disease that we can avoid by staying close to home.

The issue is that in many cases where one party to a divorce is more vulnerable – physically, emotionally or financially – than the other party, and they are focused more on protecting themselves and their children than on understanding the dynamics of the Court system and the interactions between the “handlers” of their case, they are ripe to experience further damage.

This vulnerable party is destabilized by the other party’s ability to use influence and money – and to use their children as pawns or as a tool for control and punishment – so they fall into the trap of relying strictly on what they are told by the Legal Professionals.  Unfortunately, not all professionals who govern these cases – such as the attorneys, the Judge and the custody experts – are created equal when it comes to devotion, integrity, talent or intelligence.   It pays to do your research and not rely on advertising or appearances.

Read more here about this U.S. based study revealing facts from cases involving both family violence and child custody disputes, and then check back for more of our posts about how this issue affects the health and development of children in our society.

Here is the location of the pdf for this study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448371/pdf/0940951.pdf

To learn more about how this subject relates to a situation you or someone you know may be facing, please contact us immediately.

The Looking Glass: How Children See Themselves

Why the focus on children for My Advocate Center?

Check out this video, then keep reading and join in on this event to learn more!

This is important for both parents and professionals.

We do what we do because that is what is missing from too many legal disputes related to divorce and child custody matters.

There is an enormous gap in how cases are handled that allows the needs of children to get dropped from the discussion.   Yes, it sounds good enough that the law says we are to decide and act on matters based on the “best interests of the child,” but what does that really mean?

Can you think of many examples where that was carried out in a way that meant something positive to the child involved?

Chances are, what you recall from your own case or that of someone you know is that your children lost out in more than a couple of ways.  That is sad given that the parties and the professionals claim to be working for the “sake of the children.”  Please consider this:

“Children get their earliest, most lasting impressions of who they are from what is reflected back to them by their parents.  These impressions become those ‘records’ in the jukebox of your child’s brain.”  This is the Looking-Glass-Self principle provided by psychotherapists to describe what happens, and you can read about more examples in the Parenting Roles section on the Focus on the Family website.  Please read their articles about both the Real Job of Mothers and the one linked here for Fathers.

Can you imagine what children are seeing in this looking glass – this mirror that IS the faces of their parents during a time of extreme tension, conflict, uncertainty, hostility, fear, duress?

If you care about children, then your focus should be on improving what is being reflected for children.  If a parent, especially the main caregiver is made to feel fear, then the child absorbs and learns fear – and there is no way around it…the child learns to see himself as fearful.  Anxious, Uncertain, Sad, Pained.  Naturally this leads to a greater need for attention, for self-soothing, and affects sleep, focus and relationships.  Not what you are going for?

If you are a Parent currently embroiled in a custody dispute, ask yourself & your spouse what your children are seeing, hearing, feeling.  Is it necessary?   Are you willing to change the dialogue & your actions to be geared FOR your children rather than just ABOUT your children?  If you aren’t certain how to have this discussion or what to do about increasing conflict, let us know.  The professionals we are aligned with get this.

The time to insert common sense and reason – on behalf of children – is before conflict starts to escalate.  Parents on both sides, as well as the professionals, need to consider what they are willing to risk around the child’s well-being before they go down the wrong path.

We have found that this is missing in the process, so everything we provide to parents, professionals & policy makers comes back to this one point.

The truth around Family Court practices – what our case studies show – is that too often the wrong outcome is being intentionally created, causing the children to experience the worst of both parents, rather than what is best.

If the process and attitudes remain as they are in the legal arena involving divorce and child custody matters, then too many thousands of children will continue to be sacrificed for the sake of something much less important.  They are being sacrificed for the profit of a few.

If you are not willing to allow this to continue – if you want to be a part of the Solution and not a part of the Problem, then please connect with us and  help continue this discussion.

A Father’s Rights

Have you heard?

Good fathers are sharing experiences of finding out the hard way that they don’t stand a chance of getting a balanced/fair custody schedule or equal say, unless they play dirty, and spend a fortune if they have it to spend. Even then…it is very hard to prevail through mystery & uncertainty.  Hundreds of examples of cases resolved in an unfair & unbalanced way exist right here in GA, so chances are you’ve heard of a few or experienced this yourself?

Yes, men do believe they are being discriminated against when it comes to the legal process and custody issues.  More & more are reaching out to us, asking for answers, even though we don’t promote “Father’s Rights” specifically.  We vet each case regardless of whether the mother is being targeted or the father, and work toward restoring balance for the person who is being destabilized by foul play and illegal tactics.

Why are fathers calling M-A-C?  Because we are not here to advocate for one type of person over another, but to be the Voice of Reason.   We help to take out the emotion and injury, and replace faulty reactions or strategies with what makes sense.  It is easier for men to avoid loss in business than here in the family court process, because business practices are more transparent, more accountable, and often follow logic.  What is happening with certain family court professionals goes against all logic – – and, yes, even againt the law, the facts and evidence of the case, and against the needs of children.

We look at the reality and truth for the children involved – what type of parent are you and how do you work with the other parent to do what your kids need.

Are you managing to provide the best of both parents to your children?  Do you support the other parent as much as you should?   Do you support as if your children were able to tell you what they need and deserve from you both?  Do you conduct yourself as if your children are watching?

Guess what:  they ARE watching.  Even if they are very young.   They are absorbing what is happening, and this sets them up to fail both in their youth and later in life.  So take it seriously, and work on yourself first.

Appearances DO matter, but not the way we are often taught to think in this process; what matters is what our children are seeing in us, as well as how our cases are managed related to their care and emotional well-being.  Examples to clarify this point are available.  This is simply about child-centered common sense as it relates to achieving your desired outcome.

Mothers vs. Fathers:  Bad behavior and abuse happen on both sides of the aisle.  The wedding aisle, not just the political aisle.

We are here to help all types of parents look in the mirror and consider how to be better – before divorce (avoiding it if possible because it IS bad for children, and for you), during divorce and after – because that is better for children.  It really is very simple.

So, regarding “Fathers’ Rights,” are you ready?  They should be the same as a mother’s rights.  Your children deserve the best of both – if you are capable of cooperating in that effort, then that is what should happen.  Please look for more specifics in later posts or email us for faster answers.

My Advocate Center exists because we’ve seen the impact on children and know that during this process, around divorce and custody conflicts, is where some of the worst damage is done to children.   It has to change, and if you consider yourself a good parent, or project as a professional that you are here to serve children/families and claim you have talent and are successful, then use that to improve outcomes for children, rather than for your own bottom line.   The bottom line SHOULD be how children fare in this – what are they left with when the arguing is done, and how will they manage through the aftermath and into adulthood.

As you learn about My Advocate Center please do not focus on our posts about female victims of family violence and assume that we are here because we only care about supporting women, or that our main focus is on violence although that is a driving force & controlling influence in many cases.  We have heard and seen as many examples of poor case management and outcomes for fathers as we have for mothers.  Poor judgment by professionals or judges is not aimed at one gender or the other.  But it always hurts children, so that is what drives our work and research.  We will address family violence, abuse, foul play and related topics in another post.

For now we ask that you consider that much of the conflict does not have to do with discrimination against male or female parents, and that our mission is focused on how children are impacted when the rights of a good parent and caregiver are taken away or diminished.  Much of our work & research involves balancing results for fathers, especially for fathers who are acting as the primary caregiver in their family unit.  You might not be the “stay at home dad,” but you can still be the one emotionally connected to your children and ensuring their overall well-being.

If you are not in control of your situation around child custody, and believe that the lack of fairness is hurting your kids…if you want to learn the real reason why and then do something about it, let us know.   Ideally you are reading this before it’s too late and can work with us to PREVENT this from happening.  However, most parents do not question until after damage has been done and they realize that improving the situation is next to impossible.   We are here because we believe in “possible” and you are reading because you do as well.

Join us knowing that we exist to help you learn and benefit from our experience, insight & resources.

Your children are asking this of you, even if they are silent.

The Court Discriminates, but Not Like You Think

Mothers, even good mothers, do sometimes lose their children in the legal process involving custody matters.

Fathers claim the Courts are biased in favor of mothers.

Both sides fight back, and not always fairly or with an eye on their children.

Minorities want Favored Minority Status because it is the only way in their minds to protect against discrimination.  Domestic Violence victims hear that the Court doesn’t care about family violence, or are afraid they won’t be seen as a “good enough victim” to get protection or support from the Court professionals.

Groups who do not belong to or follow the Mainstream want their rights upheld, and justly so.  Some are afraid to be seen and then misjudged for not fitting a mold we believe the Court wants upheld.

The Court is not designed to protect one gender over another, or one ethnic, religious or societal group over another.  But somehow most of us fall into the trap of believing this is true, so that way it makes more sense if we don’t prevail.  If we can make sense of it, then we know what we are up against, correct?

What actually prevents us from succeeding is information and preparedness.  Who is responsible for helping us prepare?  WE are.  We must identify resources, make the right choices for our unique situation and location and political environment, and then use those resources wisely.

It is just not as simple as “I am a Woman, so therefore I must hire this strong male, or that female bulldog of an attorney.”  That is a rumor.  An uninformed one at that.  Just like the one that states, “If she lost her children, then there must be something wrong with her.”  Or the misperception that, “He only sees his children 30% of the time, so therefore the mother prevailed,” or “he is just a so-so dad.”   Write down your beliefs and the rumors you are allowing to guide your decisions.  Don’t just Gut-Check them; FACT check them.

The brief point to our initial blog post here is this:  things are not always as they seem, and they are not always as they should be.  So get your head in the game, clear your thoughts, and learn.  If you are not sure where to start, just send us an email.  That part is simple.