During a divorce in Florida, one of the biggest disagreements can be over visitation and time spent with children. Child custody battles can sometimes go on for years as the courts attempt to untangle what is in the children’s best interests. One father, caught in the middle of court date after court date, fought for the right to see his children for several years. He eventually became a child advocate who spoke on the behalf of the children he represented.
He found in his personal battle that in addition to paying for his own attorney, he needed to also pay for his children’s personal attorney as well as a guardian ad litem, who seeks the child’s best interests. Child support isn’t always enforced, and children are the ones who often lose in the long run. Some parents don’t have the energy to cope with life and the financial means to keep fighting for custody of their children.
The father later went on to earn his doctorate in family studies, became a court mediator and has found healing through working with other parents in difficult situations to help them in their relationships with their own children. However, he still regrets the lack of contact and interaction he has had with his own children. The role of family courts differs in every jurisdiction. Some offer nothing more than self-help for patrons while others represent a place of further conflict.
The court mediator has developed the Toby Center, a place to integrate court services, support and counseling for both parents so that they can work toward the best interests of their children. Parents can connect with others, see that they aren’t alone and find services to help them on the road to recovery.
Working out child custody can be one of the most challenging parts of a divorce. A family attorney might be able to help clients negotiate acceptable child custody arrangements.
Source: Huffington Post, “Happy Fifteenth Anniversary“, Mark Roseman, August 20, 2013