Though some constituents of the American legal system would have us believe their court rooms are bastions of impartiality, reason and justice, too often, they exemplify the worst personality traits of those that run them. This is the basis for my disdain for court.
Pragmatist that I am, however, I know that today’s system is preferable to the anarchy that characterized the American frontier in the nation’s infancy. Odds are that if I dare enter a court room anywhere in the United States today to address a traffic violation, I won’t wind up hanging from a tree behind the court house if I can’t pay the fine — at least not in 2016. Regardless, I want NO part of ANY court. Period. Ever.
Reality check: Nobody cares what I want, probably not even my kids! But I love my kids. I want and need to be a part of their lives. In order to do that, I need to go through the courts. I need to learn the laws and how they can work to my advantage. I proclaim here and now that my love for my children supersedes my near-compulsion to flip the bird to the court system. I submit.
To that end, I went to the office of Northampton County’s Domestic Relations Section last week. I acted like a gentleman, was treated like a gentleman and took the steps necessary to maintain my connection with my children.
The irony that I walked into that place with the same attitude I would carry into a correctional facility was not lost on me. I knew the rules, what was expected of me and how to conduct myself. My mind was set on two goals: Walking in and walking out. How I came to be there had no bearing on what I needed to do and was therefore irrelevant.
As I walked out of the building, I felt an intense relief. Yes, it took considerable effort and time, but I had identified a phobia, analyzed its source, faced it down and defeated it. I am guilty of no crime and I have quality representation. Now, I’m cool with going to court everyday if need be.
Dads, once you get over the rage engendered by the very idea of divorce court and its inherent biases, you take away her attorney’s most lethal weapon: the ability to manipulate your emotions. Then, just as you would behind bars, you will have earned your respect. Carrying your weight in jail has more to do with mental fortitude than physical strength, although it is definitely helpful to be strong enough to hurt someone if you must. Facing down a big mouthed shyster in a court room? Relatively speaking, that’s a breeze.
Here’s the Nitty Gritty: Get a grip on your emotions, keep your court dates, study the law for your own edification and get your money’s worth from your attorney. If you’re really feeling gung-ho, file a motion or two. You won’t need to get medieval on anyone if you get analytical first.