Sole Custody? Not So Fast.

I Am Looking To Get Sole Custody of My Son
By Mark Baer

The following is an inquiry that was just posted on and an example of the kind of thinking that tends to harm children:

"I need a lawyer for a child custody case. I am looking to get full custody."

Please don't think that such a statement is unusual. In fact, not a day goes by in which I don't receive such an inquiry from a potential client.

It's all about what parents WANT, without any concern for what is in the "best interest of the child."

Sadly, parents BELIEVE that what they WANT is in the best interest of the child. Not only are those concepts not one and the same, but the other parent almost always WANTS something different and BELIEVES that what they WANT is in the child's best interest.

While both parents battle each other to try and prove that what they WANT is in the best interest of the child, they spend their child's college tuition, exacerbate the conflict, increase the distrust between them, destroy their ability to effectively co-parent, and harm the child.

For clarity, when parents act in such a manner, the only person involved in the case responsible for assessing what's in the child's best interest is the judge. Furthermore, the judge has such limited knowledge of the family that their subjective determination may or may not actually be in the best interest of the child.

I really will never understand how parents can be so harmful to their children and delude themselves to the contrary.

Oh, and in case you're interested, I won't even bother scheduling consultations with such individuals. In fact, just yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with someone who had made just such an inquiry. The conversation went as follows:

Potential Client: "I am seeking SOLE custody of MY son and would like to schedule a consultation with you."

My Response: "I'm afraid that I don't handle such matters."

Potential Client: "Aren't you a family law attorney?"

My Response: "Yes."

Potential Client: "If you're a family law attorney, what do you mean that you don't handle such matters?"

My Response: "My brothers and I were all children of a litigated divorce. We have very personal knowledge of just how much harm parents cause their children when they have such an attitude. Furthermore, after 25 years of practicing law, I am very well-aware of the harm parents cause their children when they litigate their divorce and get into custody battles."

Potential Client: "But you're supposedly a family law attorney."

My Response: "I most certainly am. I work to help parents to resolve such issues on their own, through mediation, collaboration, and/or negotiation."

Potential Client: "I'm not interested in working with HIM. Would you at least give me a referral to an attorney who handles such things?"

Ah, as an aside, children typically have two parents. Therefore, it speaks volumes when a parent refers to their child as "My son", "My daughter", "My children", "My kids", etc. Oh, and referring to the father as "him" is de-parenting him.

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