In Oklahoma Divorce and Custody cases, there are traps. It’s much like walking through a minefield. For each one that you see, there are more that you don’t, just waiting for you to step in the wrong place. This article will introduce you to A.R.T. Learn how to avoid this hidden pitfall. This is part one of a continuing series.
What is A.R.T.?
Every move you make leading up to, during, and even after your divorce or custody case matters. These actions impact the outcome. These actions impact the children. While divorce and custody litigation is very complex, the simple things can have the greatest impact. In fact, you could say that just a little common sense really does go a long way. One of the most basic things you can do is avoid the A.R.T.
A.R.T. is an acronym for what I call the Act Right Tax. The Act Right Tax is the consequence of doing the wrong thing or reacting to nonsense. It reinforces the concept that if you concentrate on creating positive actions (co-parenting), you will likely get further in court than you will by reacting to the other party’s negative actions.
It’s really a simple theory that goes like this:
- Act Right – increase the odds of a favorable outcome.
- Act Stupid – Pay the Act Right Tax.
The Act Right Tax can take many forms, but a few common examples might be contempt citations, restricted visitation, attorney fee motions, sanctions, or sadly, children requiring a lifetime of therapy trying to recover from the actions of their parents in a high conflict case.
Now that you know what it is, I will show you some easy ways to avoid paying the Act Right Tax.
Don’t Try to Play Baseball With a Tennis Racket.
Understand the purpose of the Family Court. Family courts are courts of equity. The courts are there for only one purpose and that is to resolve disputes that people cannot resolve themselves. That’s it. Period.
Emotions can run through the roof in divorce and custody cases. Some people want to approach their case as a crusade of good versus evil. The offended spouse is determined to make the other pay in court! Unfortunately, they are disappointed because it doesn’t work like that. That is not the purpose of the family court. Sure, the court will decide who gets the dog and who gets the cat, but the family court is not there to dispense justice. The court resolves disputes by making a decision and then moves on to the next case.
So, how do you use this knowledge to your advantage? You stay focused on the issues that do matter and not waste time and resources on the issues that don’t . Your attorney will help you understand the difference.
Use the court for its intended purpose and you keep the judge focused on your evidence and that will increase your odds of a favorable outcome. Try to use the court for anything other than its intended purpose, you will pay the Act Right Tax.
Your Children are Watching
The way that you treat the other parent is the way you are teaching your children to be treated in their future relationships. If you don’t want your daughter to grow up believing she deserves to be abused by some dirtbag, or you don’t want your son to grow up to be that dirtbag – then don’t treat the other parent like shit.
It doesn’t matter how horrible of a person, or parent they may be. Act right. When you treat the other parent with respect, at all times, your children will learn how they should be treated. They will learn to demand that they be valued and treated with respect in their relationships. Refusing to roll in the mud with the other parent doesn’t mean the other parent is winning. It means your children are not losing. Your children are watching, and guess what? So is the judge!
Ignore this and you will pay the Act Right Tax. However, your children will pick up the tab for the penalty and interest for years to come!
Stop, Drop, and Roll.
That’s what you do when you are on fire. So, do the same thing before responding to that crazy text or email that makes you feel like you are on fire. If the other parent sends you something stupid, they may be trying to get a reaction, or they may just be stupid. Either way, resist the urge you feel to fire back a nastygram. It’s not necessary to respond to every bogus accusation. Instead, stop, drop the phone, roll back and think.
Maybe wait until tomorrow to respond. Better yet, if you want to be sure you are on point ask your attorney to review your response BEFORE you send it. Then, you draft a reply that addresses only the co-parenting issues and ignores everything else. You have just created evidence your attorney can use as an exhibit in court demonstrating your ability to ignore the nonsense and focus on co-parenting.
The other parent will probably then send you an even crazier message because they will be infuriated that you didn’t take the bait the first time. Boom! Now they have stepped on the landmine and you have another exhibit to use in court, this time demonstrating their refusal to co-parent. Instead of you, the other parent is assessed the Act Right Tax!
See how this works?
To be continued…
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