Updated: Nov 15, 2020
As I draft this I'm sitting in a small eddy in the middle of a shallow River. My kids have caught a small fry literally as I rest on a discolored blue camping chair it is mid-July 2020. I think I'm getting a bit fat as the swim trunks I'm wearing are a touch small. Oh well, I'm still not going to put a shirt on. I've just balanced 25 rocks into 7 freestanding statuettes.
This Is My Life currently- a far cry from three and a half years ago as you may have right to my story here.
This post seems you're at the court stage either about to start or going through it I always tell the truth just as I tell my kids the truth- welcome to the Jungle. In most, not all, cases that you are going through the courts, then your case could be/ is one of high conflict. Mediation is where reasonableness or some semblance thereof, prevails - something I never had the privilege of knowing. The court process breeds conflict and unfortunately, even if you the reader, wishes for the superior option of mediation (more on that here) it only takes one spiteful, belligerent individual to force you to tango, waste everyone's time and not you to the bureaucratic, absurd and confusing rollercoaster of hell.
Don't be anxious. I can't guarantee a 100% positive outcome from what you read here, but I CAN give you air-conditioning for the journey through hell and show you the exit. There is an exit and this IS temporary. There are principles, I will say this ad nauseam, principles that will make this journey 90% better and that will absolutely help your outcome. This I can guarantee.
If you are just entering the legal Arena you are the proverbial deer in the Headlights - don't be the deer - stop staring in abject horror and bewilderment and move! This is a time for immediate and continued action you can't stand still for a moment.
I will break down what to do, where I made mistakes and implementation. Keep in mind two things:
1. My situation turned out well, for a single dad, super well. And
2. All of our situations are hugely different. Look for the similarities.
The principles will apply to all of us.
I will explain soon, however, if you are starting in or are already in the legal Arena and you are reading this, dump out all of your alcohol immediately! Alternatively, give it away and make a friend - now- right bloody now.
This was the first thing I did apply burning home in the house ransacked, kids and their mom gone, all IDs missing, kids clothes and anything of value that wasn't nailed down gone, all kinds of gone. One of the best decisions I ever made.
"...I CAN give you air-conditioning for the journey through hell and show you the exit..."
No booze? The 'Why" here...
**(If just starting out i.e. the crap has recently hit the fan)
+ Write EVERTHING down. Journal like never before. If you don't journal. Do it. Start as far back as you can remember. Write key dates in the front.
+**DUMP ALCOHOL - Quit smoking, Drugs, Porn, Gun Collecting and the like...Especially if you are or are going to be a single dad - Boys, listen up, your entire life will be in the public eye until further notice...
+If you qualify for a Legal Aid (Canada) or Pro Bono (US) Lawyer, get the process started yesterday. If you don't qualify, pony-up. I highly recommend this for the first court appearance and to lay the groundwork. (Cost-effective solutions here.)
+Do your best to only communicate with the other party in URGENT matters. Keep it short, civil, short, concise and short. Did I mention short? Anything you say can and will be used against you.
> If your dealing with a narcissist, this book by Ann Bradley - Divorcing a Narcissist and other jerks
>Specifically for dads in the US court system, this course with videos is a 'Custody Blueprint for dads' It is a touch misogynistic for my taste, but that's just me and this is a decent resource