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Santa Clara Minor's Counsel, GAL, Scam Moves to Alameda , Orange and LA  Counties

          Elise Mitchell Real Estate Bribery Scheme 

Caliornia’s State Auditor issued a report on lawyers appointed for children during their parent’s divorce after complaints from Marin and Sacramento Counties showed lawyers padding thier bills and gouging parents and taxpayers for work that did little for the best interests of children. 

Minor’s counsel appointments are the gateway appointment to scams lawyers run in connection with family law matters. A divorce or cusotdy case where lawyers claim ” high conflict ” between parents will see a judge quickly appoint a favored lawyer as Minor’s Counsel in a case. The appointment provides lawyers with immunituy to issue reports and advocate for children. In  reality the appointments serve as permission to bill and bill families until there is no money left in a community property estate subject to division. 

Parents are forced to go into debt in order to pay lawyers to tell them how to feed, cloth, educate and support thier children. Minor’s counsel are not required to make financial or other disclosures so they often sit in cases where they own businesses with other lawyers, or the judge. 

It was said that the auditor uncovered the scheme in Marin and Sacramento that had been running as designed by Tani Cantil Sakauye  who sat in family court before the Third District Court of Appeal . She was  appointed as the California Supreme Court Judge in 2011, where she not only did nothing to curb the appointments, she moved thorugh local bar associations and clubs in San Jose , Monterey, LA and Orange County to expand them.

​ In Santa Clara she worked directly with former stte bar Chief Trial Counsel Jim Towery and his wife Karyn Sinunu to expand the corrupt practice of profiting from harming kids and robbing families. 

Minor’s Counsel Bring in Funding for Foster Care and CPS 

In Santa Clara, Monerey, LA and Orange County , the small group of lawyers acting as minor’s counsel stand as look out for lawyers involved in real estate schemes, charity fraud and the lucrative practice of private judging. 

Lawyers are vetted by how well they will be team players. Then with a few hours of training, they are appointment ready, If they incite conflict suffienctly, they can remain in a case for a decade until the children age out of the court’s jurisdciton. 

Elise Mitchell is a Black female attorney in Santa Clara, When the court got pressure for the lack of diversity on the Minor’s Counsel pandel, Mitchell was brougth in my Jim Towery and groomed for appointments after she drew in a case where she represented a NFL football player. 

Mitchell then got conencted to the domestic violence scam connected to charties including Women SV, and Judge Cindy Hendrickson who replaced Judge Persky on the bench. Hendrickson and Mitchell’s ties to local Catholic Schools saw them grooming cases to send kids to foster care to earn the county more money and net them kickbacks in real estate and dark money. 

As Mitchell suceeeded she was appointed in cases where lawyers playing for the private judge team would defend her minconduct and criminality., Mitchell was awarded a secret real estate deal in Alameda County where she was charged with expanding the enterprise and rewarded with kickbacks for getting Heather Allan, Jessica Huey , BJ Fadem  Eva Martel or Nicole Ford appointed in a case where she represents a client seeking to use the courts to abuse a former spouse or parent of a child shared in common. 

Accounting records accidentially leaked by Mitchell’s office, run by her children. show such payments from a grandma, Rosalie Black Baker , and others and how those payments  used to bribe judges in Santa Clara and Alameda. The payments also bribe cops, CPS workers and therapists  who will recommend children are placed in foster care for the right pay off price. 

Mitchell has also assured payments to lawyers appointed in LA and Orange County as an escalation of minor’s counsel and cusotdy experts appointments see  judges sending  kids to foster care or charity reunificaiton camps that kick back referral fees to minor’s counsel, district attoney election campaigns and judges through real estate schemes.  

Payments  documented between Mitchell and Orange County mnior’s counsel Cherly Edgar and Tracy Willis show a pattern that reveals  judges who are in on the bribery scam and benefit from real esate kickbacks.

Payments to Orange County Minor’s Counsel Steve Dragna  and Kelly Irwin along with payments to Anaheim police officer Mark Irwin connect the dots of minor’s counsel and Disney lawyers who paid off Judge Cowan in the probate case linked to Walt Disney’s grandson where Judge Cowan victim shamed Bradford Lund for having Down Syndrome after conserving Lund and denying him the ability to manage the money left to him by his grandfather, Walt Disney.  Like Britney Spears Lund has been locked deep inside LA probate court in a horrifically corrupt  conservatorship. The unhappiest place on earth and just down the street from Disneyland where Disney’s wealth was built. 

Minor’s Counsel Appointments Force Parents to  Lucrative Private Judge Cases at JAMS 

Attorney Ed Navarro has been dubbed the children’s assasssin in Los Angeles County. Ed is regualrly appointed in cases with Dennis Wasser , Lisa Meyer , Christopher Melcher and Ron Brot. . Navarro brings in custody experts and therapists associated with Family Bridges and Overcoming Barriers.. He is also linked to psycologists from UCLA and UC Irvine to  discredit the mental health and sobreity of parents and their children. 

Navarro is known for making the pressure so great, and billing hundreds of thousands of dollars to apply pressure to get parents to agree to use a private judge, with no questions asked. 

Los Angeles County District Attonrey George Gascon  has been seen getting payments in crytocurrency and real estate kickbacks to look the other way when middle class and high asset family law litigants use private judging to cover up fraud and child abuse. 

Noise from parents losing cusotdy of their children has grown louder and has been linked to the noise in the Lund and Spears Conservartorships. As a result reporters from the Los Anegeles Times, NBC, Pro Publica and Wall Street Journal have begun asking questions and making records requests about California’s family courts.

​These media requests are said to be reponsible for Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye’s sudden annoucement to resign  as the minor’s counsel and private judge scams in California’s family courts begin to be revealed. 

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Interesting Case for Custody Evaluator Lawsuit / Immunity Rebuttal

Davis v Medical Evaluation Specialists  

(I’m only going to copy over the relevant parts – see the bold / underlined parts of what I have copied)
Appellant pleaded that local plaintiffs attorneys had detected a bias against claimants by doctors affiliated with MES. For example, appellant’s pleadings alleged that when MES physicians were involved, the reports allegedly all read the same, and the result was allegedly almost always a 0% impairment rating. Appellant thus alleged that MES and its physicians were not participating in good faith in evaluating workers’ compensation claims.(FN2) Appellant contends that MES was subverting the TWCA by recruiting physicians who would ignore the American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines and knowingly assign false and fraudulent impairment ratingsthat would attract insurance company business.  

The TWCC then designated another doctor to evaluate appellant (A Second Opinion). The new designated doctor examined appellant and assigned an impairment rating of 21% under the AMA guides.  (second opinion was in disagreement with the bias doctor)  

(The bias doctors) moved for summary judgment, claiming absolute derived judicial immunity and qualified “good faith” immunity.   ( The trial court granted immunity) 

In point of error one, appellant contends it was error for the trial court to grant the summary judgment motions of MES, Dr. DeFrancesco, and Dr. Dozier based upon either absolute derived judicial immunity or qualified “good faith” immunity.    These appellees rely heavily on Delcourt v. Silverman (which Sherry relies heavily on)

(The second opinion) affidavit created a fact issue as to whether Dr. DeFrancesco and Dr. Dozier acted in bad faith when they assessed appellant
These appellees rely on Putthoff v. Ancrum, 934 S.W.2d 164, 166-67 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1996, writ denied), in which the plaintiffs complained that a negligent autopsy prevented them from proving their daughter was murdered. The pathologists claimed qualified judicial immunity, and their motion for summary judgment was denied.  

In City of Lancaster v. Chambers, 883 S.W.2d 650, 656 (Tex. 1994), the supreme court adopted a good faith test consisting of “objective legal reasonableness.” This standard applies in all qualified or official immunity cases. Murillo v. Garza, 881 S.W.2d 199, 202 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1994, no writ). The element of good faith is satisfied when it is shown that a reasonably prudent person in the same or similar circumstances would have taken the same actions. City of Houston v. Newsom, 858 S.W.2d 14, 18 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1993, no writ). To controvert summary judgment proof on good faith, the plaintiff must do more than show a reasonably prudent person would not have taken the same action; “the plaintiff must show that ‘no reasonable person in the defendant’s position could have thought the facts were such that they justified defendant’s acts.‘” City of Lancaster, 883 S.W.2d at 657 (emphasis added).  (No reasonable person like the list of a dozen experts that have come in behind Sherry with second opinion reports??)
plaintiffs did not lose because the defendants’ affidavits were unassailable. They lost because their own controverting affidavit was inadequate. All it stated was that the defendant doctors were negligent; it wholly failed to say that they acted in bad faith. See id. at 173.  

“We must also bear in mind that it is not appellees’ burden to disprove good faith, but merely to raise a fact issue.” Murillo v. Garza, 904 S.W.2d 688, 692 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1995, writ denied).  

The appellees claim that (the second opinion) affidavit was conclusory and unsupported by any medical or other objective data. We (the appellate court) disagree.  We sustain the first point of error.

Delcourt, 919 S.W.2d at 787. This argument must fail because we have found above that the physicians in question are not immune if they acted in bad faith, and a fact issue was raised on this question. Unlike the court-appointed psychiatrist and the attorney ad litem defendants in Delcourt, and unlike the corrupt judge in the Delcourt hypothetical, appellees are not entitled to common-law absolute derived judicial immunity. They are immune by statute only for their acts “in good faith.” For acts in bad faith, they have no immunity. Tex. Lab. Code Ann. §§ 413.054(a), 402.010(b). These appellees’ contention that they derive immunity from Dr. Dozier and Dr. DeFranceso fails for the same reason.  
We sustain the second point of error.

We reverse the judgment and remand the cause.  

Psychologist Can’t Be One Sided Expert

CHILD CUSTODY – EVIDENCE – PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAM

Kelly v. Kelly
No. 46748
(Idaho Supreme Court, September 10, 2019)
The magistrate court abused its discretion by permitting husband to retain psychologist to perform a parenting time evaluation as his expert, in divorce proceeding when child custody was a contested issue; parenting time evaluators can be selected only by stipulation of the parties or by appointment of the court, in either case, the chosen expert must be neutral, and not beholden to either side, and psychologist was ultimately paid over $105,000 to conduct the parenting time evaluation on behalf of husband. Further, the magistrate court abused its discretion when it ordered wife to undergo a psychological evaluation and counseling, as recommended by psychologist, husband’s expert, during child custody portion of divorce trial; a judge had no authority to order medical or psychological treatment in a child custody case unless there was direct testimony that such treatment would be in the best interest of the child, and there was no language indicating a psychological evaluation was in the best interests of child

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Same Sex Marriage: Can a judge stop you from getting a divorce in Texas?

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Despite the decision out of our federal Supreme Court a few years ago that legalized same sex marriage across our country there are still some misunderstandings and questions regarding that subject. This is understandable to a degree. The change in laws dramatically altered the landscape of family law in terms of who is and is not able to participate in the family law courts. In addition, some folks I have spoken with in my capacity as a consultative attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan still have questions if marriage and divorce work the same for opposite sex and same sex persons. Today’s blog post will discuss marriage and divorce for same sex couples.

Expected length of time for a same sex divorce in Texas?

There are two roads that your divorce could go down. The first is the path of least resistance- an uncontested divorce. To be considered truly uncontested you and your spouse would need to be in agreement on getting a divorce, have a plan in place for diving up any marital property and if you have children would need to have every aspect of a parenting plan agreed upon as well. This means conservatorship, visitation, support, etc. all need to be decided prior to hiring an attorney. If even one piece of this pie is missing, then your divorce is not uncontested and will therefore require some degree of negotiation.

The second path is unfortunately the more common road that most divorces go down- a contested divorce. All of the above issues that I laid out are in play in a contested divorce. The more substantial your martial property or the more detailed your parenting objectives and plans are the more complicated and longer your divorce will likely take. There is not anything wrong with this as a general rule, but it can get tedious and tiresome for most people who are eager to complete their divorce and move on with the rest of their lives.

Generally speaking, a divorce in Texas must take at least sixty days from the date on which the Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the court. Ostensibly the sixty first date is the earliest date on which you and your spouse can have a judge sign a final decree of divorce. A final decree could be signed and ready the day after your petition is filed but absent extreme circumstances (like family violence being an issue) it is unlikely that a judge would waive the sixty-day waiting period. For those of you wondering, the waiting period exists in order for you and your spouse to make absolutely sure that you want to get a divorce rather than remain married and try to work it out together.

How can you avoid a long and protracted divorce?

The key to a fast-moving divorce is to understand early on that you are not going to get 100% of what you want. I wish there were some way to ensure that all of our clients always got just what they wanted out of a divorce but to this point I have not been able to do the math on how to get there. If any attorney ever does get to that point, then the rest of us may as well give it up and start looking for work elsewhere.

The reason that divorces end up being situations where you and your spouse both give up (and therefore gain) things in order to settle the case is that most family courts in Texas require that you attend mediation at least once throughout your case’s life. Typically, you will attend mediation once before any temporary orders hearings and then again before your trial.

Temporary Orders hearings have everything to do with how you and your spouse will be situated during your divorce from the perspective of making sure bills are paid, the kids are cared for and one another are treated with respect. Mediation involves attending a formal negotiation session with your attorneys in the office of a third-party mediator. The mediator is also very likely a practicing family law attorney him or herself so you will be able to gauge the relative strength or weakness of your arguments with the mediator as well.

In mediating for final orders you will likely be extending much of the temporary orders out into your post-divorce life as well as deciding what will happen with any marital property accumulated by you and your spouse. Texas is a community property state. This means that any property that you acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be jointly owned by both of you and is therefore subject to being divided up in your divorce case. If it is your contention that something acquired during your marriage is your property separate from your spouse- like a gift of some sort- then the burden is on your to prove by clear and convincing evidence that this is the case.

Tips for preparing for mediation in your same sex divorce case

Attending mediation will be the same for you as it would be for persons going through any other divorce. You and your attorney should come prepared with settlement offers, a list of property that may be in play as far as negotiation is concerned as well as plans and ideas on how to divide up parenting time with your children. The more prepared you are and the more variations you have available to you of the different parenting plans the more likely you will be to reach a relatively pain free settlement.

For instance, it is commonly thought in opposite sex divorces that mothers have the advantage when it comes to being named the primary conservator of your child. Primary conservator means the parent who has the right to determine the primary residence of your child- among other rights. This allows your child to live with you throughout the school year and provides visitation time (mostly on weekends) to your spouse once the divorce has been completed.

In same sex divorces there would not be an apples to apples comparison due to there not being a male and female parent from which to choose from. You and your spouse should have had discussions heading into mediation regarding which of you is better suited to be named as the primary conservator of your children. Having an honest conversation with your attorney about which parent has been more active, more involved, and better acquainted with your children’s day to day needs is a good place to start. My admitting to yourself that your spouse has taken the lead in these areas throughout your marriage or has a work schedule that is more conducive to providing the level of care that is needed to raise a child on a daily basis is not admitting that you are not a good parent. It can, however, help you to eliminate contentious delays in your case and lead to a more developed settlement agreement.

Another aspect of divorce mediation that you need to be prepared for is determining how to divide up your bigger financial assets. Retirement plans, bank accounts, home equity and the like are probably the type of assets that you will have in play for your case. If you have not considered these subjects prior to entering into mediation you will find out that you will need to work through them in mediation. Seeing as how most mediation sessions are only four hours long you will not be optimizing your time by spending an undue amount of time on these sort of brain storming sessions while in mediation. Rather, spend a few weeks prior to mediation using your attorney as a go-between to communicate settlement offers to your spouse.

Finally, it is important to note that what you settle upon in mediation cannot (in most circumstances) be changed. That means that you cannot wake up the morning after mediation and call your attorney in a panic because you think you made a huge mistake in deciding to agree to a geographic restriction for your child when you really want to move back home to Colorado to be closer to family once the divorce is over with.

You can avoid problems like this by asking questions of your attorney about anything that you are agreeing or not agreeing to. If any settlements are reached (either in part or in full) then the mediator will present rough draft copies of what is known as a mediated settlement agreement to you and your spouse. You can and should go over them with your attorney to make sure that you understand everything that is being agreed to. If something doesn’t make sense, or if the wording of what the mediator included does not comport to the agreement as you understood it please raise that issue before mediation is over with.

Will you ever have to go to court in your divorce?

Thankfully you will likely only have one court date that you will have to attend during your divorce. That court appearance will be an uncontested appearance in what is known as a Prove Up hearing. The petitioner (party who filed the Petition for Divorce) will attend a quick hearing with their attorney in court. At the prove up hearing your attorney will be presenting you and your Final Decree of Divorce to the judge for his or her approval. The attorney will ask you questions regarding the divorce decree as a means to show the judge that you and your spouse have come to an agreement and are ready to move forward to close out your case.

In all likelihood your judge will not ask any questions and will send you off on your way. The divorce decree will be signed by the judge later that day and will likely be posted online in the day following. You can pay for certified copies at the clerk’s office shortly thereafter.

One question that I am sometimes asked by clients is how much of your prove up hearing will be heard by the public. It is true that anyone can walk into your courtroom during your prove up hearing and hear some details about your case. If you are at all trying to keep the divorce from becoming an “event” or something like that I understand why you may not be too excited to set foot in court and put your life on display in front of a handful of people.

I cannot emphasize, however, that it is unlikely that anyone in court other than the court report, judge, your attorney and you will be paying attention to a word of what is said. In Harris County, for example, you and your attorney will approach the bench and speak to the judge in a conversational tone. Therefore, a person in the first row of courtroom seats will have problems hearing what is happening in your case. The bottom line is that if you are worried about airing your business for all the world to hear then you should be at ease because a Prove Up hearing is not that kind of court appearance.

Closing thoughts on same sex divorce cases

It could be that you never imagined that you would ever get married in your life. Now you are having to contend with the thought of getting a divorce. This cannot be an easy time for you and your family. However, the attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to tell you that our office will stand with you throughout your case until your process is complete.

If you have any questions about the material that we have covered please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with our licensed family law attorneys. It would be our pleasure to talk with you and to answer your questions and concerns in a comfortable, pressure-free environment.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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Pet Custody in Texas: Who Keeps the Pet in a Divorce?

Pet Custody in Texas: Who Keeps the Pet in a Divorce?

Originally published by Hendershot, Cannon and Hisey, P.C. Blog.

For many Americans, pets are part of the family. While that means our pets can bring years of companionship and joy, they can also become a significant point of contention when spouses choose to divorce. In fact, the issue of “pet custody” has evolved so much throughout the years that it’s become a matter many courts across the country are willing to hear, as well as a focused niche in family law.

At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., our divorce and family law attorneys have worked with all types of clients – from individuals and single parents to large families, married business partners, and yes – pet owners.

Because we know each client has their unique goals, we’re passionate about structuring the strategies to address what matters most them, and what’s most appropriate for their given circumstances. If your pet is part of your family, then we know it’s important to make them a priority – even if Texas courts that have traditionally treated pets as property fail to fully grasp that pets’ value is far more than monetary.

If you are considering divorce and are concerned about what will happen to your furry friend (or any pet or animal you’ve owned with a spouse), working with experienced attorneys can make all the difference in reaching a workable resolution. To help you understand how pets and divorce work in Texas, we’ve put together a few important things to know.

Pet Custody & Divorce: New Trends for the Modern Family

The role pets play in the family unit have made pet custody an increasingly more common area of focus in many divorce cases. Some of the latest developments related to pet custody and divorce make it clear it’s becoming an issue that’s gaining attention:

  • According to a report published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there was a nearly 30% increase in family law cases involving issues of pet custody between 2009 and 2014. During that same five-year period, almost a quarter of attorneys also reported an increase in cases where family judges characterized pets as assets in divorce.
  • Dogs and cats are the most common animals involved in divorce-related pet custody. However, there have been documented divorce cases involving all types of pets and animals, including reptiles, birds, and exotic animals. While many Texas divorces involve farm animals and cattle and livestock, those animals tend to viewed in terms of their monetary value, rather than the emotional value we attach to household pets.
  • Alaska became the first state in the nation to pass pet custody legislation in 2017. Under that state law, courts can consider the wellbeing of pets when making decisions over which spouse will be awarded custody, similar to how courts consider the wellbeing of children in proceedings over child custody (or “possession and access” as it’s known in Texas). A similar law passed in Illinois took effect in 2018, and a measure in California providing judges with the power to treat pets as people (by considering their best interests) became law on the first day of 2019.
  • Advocates and lawmakers from across the country are supporting efforts to raise awareness about this unique issue and introduce and pass pet custody legislation in other states. Earlier this year in Pennsylvania, for example, lawmakers introduced a measure that would differentiate domesticated pets as “companion animals,” and allow judges, if necessary, to decide upon custody of the pet.

Pet custody is certainly not a new issue; spouses have been battling over pets or animals in family courts for decades. However, a lack of clear legislation on how pets are to be viewed in divorce, in addition to the larger role they play in modern families, often means it becomes a matter of discretion, with some judges taking the issue more seriously than others.

Still, it’s indisputable how much we love our pets, and questionable as to whether we may love them even more than people. As one New York State Supreme Court judge who oversaw a pet custody trial involving a mini-dachshund in 2013 noted in his opinion:

“People who love their dogs almost always love them forever. But with divorce rates at record highs, the same cannot always be said for those who marry.”

Pet Custody in Texas Divorce Cases

Although there has been no specific pet custody law passed in Texas, there are still many pet owners who wish to protect their relationships with their pets when it comes time to divorce, and many cases in the past that have dealt with all types of situations and disputes related to shared animals.

Even without a statutory law, there are a few things to consider when dealing with pet custody in a Texas divorce:

  • Pets as Property – The status quo in most Texas divorce cases is to treat pets like personal property. This means they can be deemed community property or separate property. In these cases, courts will generally follow statutory laws when awarding a pet to an owner who purchased or adopted the pet on their own prior to marriage (separate property).
  • Discretion – Although pets can generally be considered property in divorce, any owner knows they are far more than that. Given the emotional significance of the relationship between owners and their animals, judges may exercise discretion to allow owners to raise arguments over custody arrangements, and even consider the best interests of the pet. However, there’s now law requiring that they do.
  • Agreements and Options – As with many aspects of divorce, couples may have the ability to reach mutual agreements with one another over what happens to family pets. This may be facilitated through out-of-court negotiation or mediation that resolves the issue with a property division agreement. It can also result in any number of options for what that agreement looks like, such as having one spouse take one pet and another spouse take the other, or awarding a spouse other assets in exchange for possession of the pet. For some divorcing spouses who end a marriage on good terms, or for whom their pets are that important, it can even involve time-sharing or visitation, depending on their personal wishes.
  • Disputes – Although pets bring us unconditional love and companionship, they can become a focal point for disagreement in divorce. When disputes arise, it becomes important for pet owners to work with experienced attorneys who can leverage their understanding of existing laws, case law, and their ability to illustrate the unique and special relationships clients have with their pets when pursuing a positive outcome. This can be especially important in cases where custody of a pet is being sought as a means to harm the other spouse (i.e. as an act of “revenge”), or when there are other factors involved that would mean pets carry more “value” in terms of being a unique asset, such as pets used as show animals, for breeding, or for performances.

HCH: Protect Your Rights & What Matters Most to You

Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. has earned national recognition as proven and experienced divorce and family lawyers, as well as the trust of clients who valued the personalized focus and dedication we devote to their cases and the issues which matter most to them. By working closely with clients, we gain a better understanding of the key issues in their cases, and are driven to help protect their rights as we pursue the most positive outcome possible.

If you have questions about divorce, property division, or your pets, our team is here to help. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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productive co-parenting communication

Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication

productive co-parenting communication

 

Parenting can be difficult even in an in-tact household wherein even residing together the time spent together as parents, uninterrupted in thought and time for discussion, results in many discussions occurring through text, email and in passing.

Of course, the hustle and bustle of the world we live in as parents leave much room for errors in schedules, forgotten appointments, and confusion as to who is where. This is even more difficult for two parents who do not reside together yet share in one mutual goal- raising and being involved in their children’s schedules and lives on an equal basis.

Productive Co-Parenting Communication

Married or not, raising children takes a lot of communication. Unfortunately, communication in relationships that have broken down for one reason or the other is made even more difficult and can create a host of issues for couples attempting to co-parent absent a close relationship or any at all for that matter. As family law attorneys, we are often faced with questions, concerns and issues from our client stemming from the lack of communication, i.e. the other side not providing information or not being responsive.

Other times, the absence of communication is used to assert control and intentionally keep the other parent out of the loop. On the other hand, some parents utilize communication in a manner which is harassing such as incessantly texting, calling, or making things difficult. Either way, the reality is that communication in strained relationships can be incredibly difficult and as a result, children suffer by missing activities, homework assignments, family outings, etc.

Therefore, focusing on simple ways to communicate, absent the need to involve lawyers and judges, is the most productive and cost-effective way to co-parent when the relationship with the other parent is less than ideal. The reality is that the involvement of lawyers and the court’s not only costs thousands of dollars, but there is also a delay in resolution by virtue of the time needed for everyone to respond.

Therefore, it is simply not practical on any level to require the use of your lawyer to communicate about everyday issues regarding your children.

It is significant to note that communication is one of the primary statutory factors the courts consider in determining custody and parenting time arrangements. Moreover, just not getting along is not enough to prove that two adults cannot communicate in a manner which would cause a court to minimize either parent’s role.

In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court has long held that joint legal custody is the “preferred” custody arrangement and that this requires sharing the responsibility for jointly making “major” decisions regarding the child’s welfare, developing a productive way of communication is key to the success of not only the co-parenting relationship but the children’s success overall.

That being said, family law attorneys, as well as Judge’s, are mindful of the difficulties parent’s may have communicating during less than ideal times. Therefore, the focus and trend have been to encourage the use of apps that parties can utilize to limit and focus the communication to just the issues versus the text message and/or email chains that seemingly increase in hostility with the back and forth involved.

For example, one method of communication often utilized by co-parents, either by way of agreement or more frequently now being Court Ordered, is Our Family Wizard.  Our Family Wizard obviously cannot circumvent the use of communication as a weapon in contested or tension ridden co-parenting relationships, however, it is designed to assist parents by having categories that limit and narrow the issues and minimize the probability of misinterpretation of miscommunication.

Parents can download the children’s schedules, they can monitor parenting time changes in their schedules, and even scan in the children’s expenses, none of which can be altered if needed for use in Court. In other words, it is a protected forum which allows communication between parents about the issues relating to their children and provides clearer documentation in the event that communication (or lack of same) is the overriding issue.

In sum, learning and finding a way to communicate is essential to raising children regardless of the status of your relationship. Utilizing applications such as Cozi, Our Family Wizard, Truece, and other applications which permit scanning, scheduling and limit the opportunity for emotions to supersede the issues is beneficial to everyone’s quality of life, especially and most importantly the children involved.

The post Developing Productive Co-Parenting Communication appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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