The Child’s Voice in Divorce; Trending Topics on Twitter

Yesterday I read that Topsy now has a database with analytics about all the Tweet in cyberspace since 2006. I casually browsed to the site and entered some random #s. As you know from my previous posts, I’m “slightly” annoyed with the lack of rights children have in a divorce, so I also entered #fathersrights, #mothersrights and #childrensrights.

Trending Topics on Twitter 8/15 - 9/15/2013The results were slightly disturbing, so this morning, coffee in hand, I decided to look a little more in-depth into these statistics. What are people really tweeting about? What is the relevance to family court, or custody disputes?

#childrensrights (316 tweets)

At first I was relieved that there were actual, and relatively many, tweets about Children’s Rights, until I started to dissect the tweets and their actual topics. There is a lot of injustice done to children all over the world. The child’s right to education, child brides, failed circumcision, rape, the underground child adoption exchange (this one leaves me speechless, but telling of our society), poverty, cannabis therapy.

None about the children’s rights in divorce…………

None…….

Read that again: None……..

They don’t have a voice.

#mothersrights (30 tweets)

29 Tweets are from attorneys tweeting their answer to a legal question on Avvo. These are questions from mothers seeking a solution or information when just starting the divorce or with regards to a father who, according to the mother, has abandoned the child(ren). 1 Question is from a mother who lost custody and wants to seek visitation. Usually the answer is to hire a lawyer. Shocker.

1 Tweet is about mothers dealing with a stillborn child.

#fathersrights (175 tweets)

And so the bitching starts, excuse my words, and it is not pretty either. My heart rate increases, and I’m not sure it is from my morning coffee. The hairs on my arms are raised with the tone of aggression, is that REALLY in the best interest of the child? It sounds more like bullying; the use of force or coercion to abuseintimidate, or to aggressively impose a certain type of domination over others.

The positive part of this is that most of the aggression is done by attorneys advertising their business. MONEY MONEY MONEY, father’s rights are big business and these attorneys show their teeth in their tweets. Who cares about the child?

Other tweets are about ‘winning’, dads-can-win. So that is the essence of the fight? The winning? Again, that shows aggression and has absolutely nothing to do with the best interest of the child. It is showing their true colors.

There are only a handful of tweets by fathers themselves.

Thankfully there are quite a few tweets about Baby Veronica. While I only know what was presented in the media, I emotionally side completely with the father. There is a great injustice done to the child that there even has to be a battle about this. The biological parent*, who by all means appears to be ‘fit’, who initiated proceedings in a timely manner (not 10 years after the fact), is the parent. Adoption is a wonderful thing for so many children, no question about that, but in this case it is clearly inappropriate.

I’m disappointed by the imbalance of coverage of the different interests. I’m appalled by the aggressive tone of advocates of Father’s Rights, which seems to be about winning and money, not the child. I make no judgement about parents tweeting about the loss of custody. There may be good reason they lost custody, there may be a great injustice done to the children by what happened.

* I specifically and respectfully, say ‘parent’, as I resent this gender war in custody battles. Where joint or shared custody is not in the best interest of the children, the most suitable parent should have sole custody to safeguard the long-term wellbeing of the child.

What Protective Parents Can Learn from WWII Resistance Fighters

Kristallnacht‘ or ‘Crystal Night‘, it sounds so beautiful, yet it was so disastrous.

-- Synagogue in Berlin the morning after the Kristallnacht

— Synagogue in Berlin the morning after the Kristallnacht

The night in which the German SturmAbteilung, or paramilitary, in a series of organized attacks destroyed synagogues, buildings, homes and stores belonging to jews. It was the beginning of the persecution of Jews in Nazi-Germany.

My grandfather was in Germany at the time, as a Dutch Officer. He left, he quit the military, he knew what was coming, he wanted no part of it. He moved home and fought in the resistance, like many other brave men and women, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs. Their courage should be an example for protective parents. Some fights just have to be fought.

1. Chose your venue wisely.

My grandfather didn’t quit the fight, no, he changed venues. The military was aligning with Hitler and his chances of preserving civil liberties in the position he was in was minimal. He went home, and started an underground resistance group.

Going full-blown into the court circus can be very challenging. And financially very costly, not to speak of the emotional cost. You see people age right in front of you. Other venues are available to you; mediation, arbitration and if you’re remotely lucky you’ll actually be able to come to an agreement with your ex yourself. If not, then……

2. Fight smart, fight strategically.

The story of an attorney representing a protective mother versus a psychopath father will always stick with me. The attorney advised the mother to give the father lots of time, she was hesitant but eventually agreed. The father was too self-centered to actually parent and sure enough, not too long after the father was fed up with the responsibilities of caring for children and the mother ended up with sole custody.

Custody arrangements very often change over time. Depending on the nature of the situation your children are in, this may not be the best solution, but it helps to think outside of the box. Build the relationship with your children first, give that a good foundation.

WWII resistance fighters did not go on (many) suicide missions. They stayed hidden and low profile, but struck when necessary, they fought the necessary battle at the right time and the right place. It wasn’t till the end of the war that the Germans realized the extend my grandfather was involved and how he had systematically resisted them.

3. Realize you’re in it for the long haul.

In 1938 nobody knew how long this was going to take, or even realized the extend of all the atrocities to happen. Likewise, custody battles with personality disordered other parents will escalate over time. Most custody situations are not over till the child reaches maturity and when you are dealing with PAS, it may be a life time.

If you have some sort of access to your children, use it as quality time. Built strong bonds with your children without letting the battle interfere with how you interact with your children. The strongest bonds between child and parent are formed with quality time, even if it is very little.

4. Never give up.

I know I have been at the breaking point. Wondering whether it would all be worth it. I have observed divorces in ex’s family; they don’t stop till they have full custody and the ex-wife is destitute. I wrote that email to dr Warshak that I thought it would be better to walk away. His immediate and stern response was ‘don’t you dare, would you give up if there was physical or sexual abuse?’.

My grandfather knew he was the underdog, but that did not deter him, nor any of his fellow resistance fighters. Thanks to them, thanks to the men and women who fought for our freedom, whether allied forces or resistance fighters, the world was saved from Evil.

When your child is in an abusive situation, whether physical, sexual, or psychological, you have to fight the fight. The road is long, the road is hard, yet when the kids are adults you want to say that you did all you could. There is nothing more devastating to a child growing up believing that a parent abandoned them, whether it is true abandonment, or perceived abandonment due to manipulations of the other parent.