You know those county fair Houses of Mirrors, where you face multiple, distorted reflections of yourself and your friends, at so many angles, you become dizzy and almost can’t distinguish what is you, and what is your reflection? Never mind getting out… you’re stuck, stymied, for a while.
This is the trick many of us face in the divorce and custody industry. We walk in thinking things will be rational, justice will prevail, the truth will come out and we will triumph, yada yada. But nothing turns out as it seems. You turn in a required document, and something’s not right. You issue a protective order, and it doesn’t work. Many of these efforts and ploys against you constitute “divorce gamesmanship” moves in which you’re falling through one rotten board after another. When you manage to struggle out, the other side has had the opportunity to make several moves, to best you in the race to justice. It’s tough, if not impossible, to catch up–never mind getting AHEAD.
This is the sideshow compared to what goes on in the big tent.
So let’s continue this analogy of the court system and divorce industry as a fair, or a circus, because that is what it is. Scary clowns and all. You have the sideshow, involving your own personal situation when your spouse decides to pit him or herself against you and enjoins his or her lawyer to do the same (this is home-style “divorce gamesmanship” as I explain in my book). You and your attorney (if she’s any good) fight back to deflect it, and often lose.
Finally, if an attempt to mediate, to settle out of court, fails, it’s time to saunter over to the awe-inspiring Big Tent. A magician wows the crowd with his astonishing tricks. You weren’t born yesterday. You know it’s all about sleight of hand. So you know he’s doing something important while he distracts you to the hand that is not, but is entertaining. You fall for it. You follow the feather or the flower or whatever interesting object deflects your eye. Then presto, he’s accomplished the unimaginable.
It looks like magic, but you know it’s trickery. Thing is, he’s so good at it, it doesn’t matter that you know he was up to something. You still don’t know what… but it’s something, and it’s intentional, naturally.
We suspect the officiants don’t understand how these civilian charlatans are manipulating the system and getting away with it. They don’t understand narcissism; they don’t understand why an obviously deadbeat dad from his two previous relationships shouldn’t have custody of the kids. We’ve got to educate them, right?
All right, so back to the family court system and how it works, from the hiring of attorneys to sometimes vague attempts at settlement to the big leagues of a court trial. We in this realm are trying to achieve the end goal–uh, just things like getting back kidnapped children from abusive exes and even grandparents. We do what we know, the darned best we can, to figure out what is happening. We form alliances and organizations; we study laws and how they’re applied; we write books; we draft and redraft laws that should serve the abused better and keep them safe. We question if the system understands what these “courtroom winners”, often abusers, are actually doing. We suspect the officiants don’t understand how these civilian charlatans are manipulating the system and getting away with it. They don’t understand narcissism; they don’t understand why a deadbeat dad from his two previous relationships shouldn’t have custody of the kids. We’ve got to educate them, right?
This logical, intelligent personality fits women like Robin Karr and Holly Collins, who resolutely sought justice. The petitioner, the outsider whose existence relies on the legal system to work properly and for good– can only follow the rules. Court issues you requirements which you are to meet. OK, you take them and strive to meet them. Say you’re to obtain a psychological evaluation and return it. The court-ordered psych doesn’t meet the deadline. Presto, you’re in contempt–EVEN WHEN THE PSYCH WAS HIRED BY THE COURT. It seems not to matter. Collusion? Set-up? Divine predestination? You tell me.
Lots of wise people are trying to figure out what is happening for these magicians to make our children disappear with a flourish and one command–Ah, but they’re too quick.
Can I get all Ira Levin and postulate: What if it all doesn’t add up to a heap of peanut shells why these things are happening, really? All the research and analysis are valuable–they will be necessary, golden, when it comes time to create genuine reform. However. Smart and dedicated parents question why we can’t just go to a more fair system, issue more joint custody in the truest sense, monitor the situation and follow through after the final divorce decree. Weed out the incompetent parents. They’re freakin’ obvious, aren’t they? Realize how the bad parents are playing them and the system. Parents still filing through the system try to follow the rules–they cite disorders, they explain children’s schedules and needs. If you read my book, you’ll be shocked and dismayed at how little all this seems to matter to a lot of judges.
Lots of wise people are trying to figure out what is happening for these magicians to make our children disappear with a flourish and one command–Ah, but they’re too quick. They are so many steps ahead of us that it’s pointless to understand. We’re just left wondering.
What if when we were looking at the obvious object all along, doing the right thing, following the right mark, we were actually cleverly diverted from what was really happening? What if: People don’t play the system? The system plays us?
Broken court system? Folks, I don’t think anything so elaborately staged to trip up an endless parade of good parents and citizens and set them up to fail, could be “broken.” It takes slick savvy and plenty of flashy, high-dollar corruption to create this kind of carnival, people.