So you want to take your Ex to Court?
We all know that going to court is hard. Whether it’s a family matter or a commercial matter, it’s hard. It’s emotionally draining, financially expensive and takes a long time.
When it’s a family matter, there’s another consideration too though – the toll it takes on the relationship you have with the other parent of your child. But I don’t want a relationship with them – “our relationship is OVER!”, I hear you shout. That’s where you’re wrong.
You may no longer have a marriage, a romantic relationship, intimacy or even a friendship. What you do have though, for as long as you have children, is a co-parenting relationship. You and your ex-spouse are still the parents of your children. Your children still want you BOTH in their life.
In the Court process you’re giving over the decision making to a Judge. But it’s not just the lack of control over the outcome that’s difficult.
It said that in the Court process, you have no control over the outcome. You have to get your head around the fact that there are numerous possible outcomes – what you’re asking for, what your ex-spouse is asking for and what the Judge might decide upon. But that’s not the most difficult part.
It’s like taking your car to the mechanic because there’s something wrong that you can’t agree how to fix. The mechanic decides and fixes it and regardless of whether it was the right fix, you’ve got to live with it forever.
If they decides to put Monster Truck tyres on your Hyundai Getz, you’re stuck with them and need to figure out how to live with it.
For me, going to Court was emotionally exhausting. It wasn’t just that the ultimate decision was taken out of my hands. It was because I had to read all the negative things my ex thinks about me, including his lies. I found way to not let him see that I was upset by what he wrote. I had to keep everything that was happening from my children. When I was feeling anxious or angry or sad my kids knew something was wrong but I couldn’t talk to them honestly. It was hard to reassure them about what was happening when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I felt scared, anxious, worried, and alone.. The only other person who could really relate to what I was going through was my ex-husband – but he was my “enemy”, not my friend.
The period between filing response material and trial day was a challenging time for the narrator, as they were uncertain about their children’s presence. The trial was an interim period, with no clear decision on whether the narrator’s argument was more persuasive than the ex-husband’s. The court expert’s opinion was based on a small sample of the narrator’s children’s feelings, and the rest of their life was based on this information. The narrator had no control over the trial, decisions, or approach to the situation, and was at the mercy of the professionals they paid. The Family Report Writer’s findings were not entirely accurate, but they provided a snapshot of the narrator’s children’s experiences. The narrator felt a sense of being at the mercy of the professionals they paid.
I can’t say that in my case, everything turned out for the best. It didn’t turn out for the worst though, that’s for sure!! My ex-husband had a party with our children on the night of our judgement, to celebrate that I didn’t get what I wanted. He didn’t get what he was asking for either, but that didn’t matter. What mattered to him is that I didn’t ‘win’. That’s what it became about.
I’m a mediator. I specialise in family mediation and supporting separated families living with conflict. We all have choices and we can only control what happens in our house and with ourselves. Separation and divorce can be hard to live through. But I tell you what, if divorce is like death, Court IS hell.
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