As a predominate child custody lawyer, I have been through the whirlwind of heated child custody disputes. I sense the frustration my clients are experiencing as the primary parent who is desperately trying to get the other side to co-parent and establish a better relationship with their child or the other parent who feels like they are being alienated from their child. Expecting the courts to teach a parent skills and training to build a better relationship is futile because no court can do that. Additionally, going to court to seek a modification in visitation is could be useless if there are no extreme facts in the case to give evidence for a serious reduction in visitation. But there are remedies you can seek such as:
1. Minor’s Counsel
I think minor’s counsel is great because it gives children who do not otherwise have a voice in the court room one. Minor’s Counsel is an appointed attorney for the child. The Minor’s counsel will usually meet with both parent and child, usually separately, and figure out what the child’s needs are, wishes and understand what needs to be done, if anything to protect that child from a parent, or establish a better both between the parent and child. Minor’s Counsel will give a recommendation to the court for what it believes is a proper vistiation schedule. Minors Counsel can also recommend a parent to go to anger management or parent child counseling.
2. Anger Management
If a parent is constantly yelling or punishing a child without good cause then a Request for Order for Anger Management Courses would be necessary. An order for a parent to attend anger management is usually a wake up call to that parent that there is a serious problem with their behavior. The Request for Order is usually filed and a declaration from the requesting parent is usually sufficient to order a parent to anger management.
3. Parent Child Counseling
A request for this is pretty self explanatory. When there is a split between parents, I think parent child counseling is always necessary, especially to help build a bond with the parent who is not frequently in the child’s life. Inconsistency is hard on a child. Usually when a child acts out they are frustrated and cannot express themselves properly. To be in and out of a child’s life is very hard. The child goes through feelings of rejection, insecurity and neglect, which are difficult for them to process. Feelings become hurt and when a parent tries to build a bond with that child that is difficult for them, they use poor judgment and try to discipline a child into loving them more. You cannot force that bond. Parent-child counseling is necessary in almost all of my cases.
4. Co-Parenting Classes
Co-parenting refers to how the two parents cooperate. This is a big factor for the court’s when determining a child custody/ visitation plan. Court’s do not favor a party who is making co-parenting difficult and the court’s usually try to determine which parent is being more cooperative. If the court finds that the primary parent can co-parent with the other then they would be more likely to be liberal with granting requests and giving leniency. To be able to get along with the parent of your child, regardless of your feelings or thoughts about that person, is not only beneficial to you but to your child.