Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I may not take your Child Custody Case

Over time I have consistently had an increase in requests for my assistance. This includes assisting attorneys, lobbying, advising policy-makers and assisting litigants managing themselves through child-custody litigation. Throw on top of that my political activities during election times and it's easy to understand why I cannot assist everyone who desires consultation with me.

Assisting the ACLU with the Craig Scarberry case and getting his parental rights reinstated and children returned to him, at least until the appeal can be decided, has only increased this demand. Top that off with Craig mentioning me by name on MSNBC and it becomes crystal clear that maybe I should be giving thanks to our Democrat legislators, who have gone on strike and are manning the picket conference room in Illinois, for allowing me time to sleep.

To relax and get some semblance of leisure time I write this blawg.

So with my time this stretched I cannot assist everyone who asks me. Often times people simply disqualify themselves through contact with my scheduler. This filter has been the most beneficial thing for myself and parents whose children need my assistance in helping regain or build their relationship during a custody conflict.

Someone who is unable to take the small steps of completing an application, setting up an appointment to meet with me and then actually arriving for that meeting with the requested documents won't get my help. It's not just that the opportunity to get started has been missed but, more to the point of parenting, those few tasks are minor compared to the demands that will be placed upon anyone to raise a child.

There is no way that I am going to support a parent in a fight to get custody or parenting time with his or her child unless that parent also meets my moral standards. This is the reason I have always required that potential clients complete an application.

Yesterday I received a follow-up email from a potential client who said that she spoke to an attorney about her case. In short the attorney didn't paint a hopeful picture so she said she decided to give up and won't be seeking my assistance.

This provides me with the opportunity to make a point on two things. First, when you see an appellate decision that says "affirmed" or "reversed" that usually means that one of the two attorneys was wrong. Sometimes an Appellee doesn't file a brief [argue the case] or a litigant is pro se, but in most cases an attorney is wrong in his or her interpretation of the law or the facts.

Second, refer to the Scarberry case. Had it not been for my consultation with his appellate attorney Craig's children would still be denied medical care and be subjected to further alienation from him. This is because the Motion to Stay the trial court's judgment, written by Ken Falk, would not have been filed. It is an unusual application in a child custody decision under appeal but based upon my observations I was confident that it was appropriate in this case and would be granted although I never personally revealed that to Craig.

Point to be made here is that this potential client got the opinion of one attorney and then completely discounted my expertise in the field of parent-child relationships. It's like having a heart attack and then going to your GP with chest pains a week later, being told it's probably not heart related and then canceling your appointment with your cardiologist based upon your GP's "probably". Just as a cardiologist is a specialist as compared to a GP, I am a child custody consultant only as compared to most attorneys who practice across multiple disciplines and are concerned primarily with only the legal aspects of the parent-child relationship.

If you wouldn't care anymore about your own health than that, and would apply the same to your child, then I don't want to assist you in your quest to get the authority to make those types of decisions for your child.

Once some of these people weed themselves out there is still more than I can handle. What I look for are parents involved in cases that will have wide application. Primarily this is done through appeals where, if an opinion is published it can then be applied in future cases and provide guidance to other parents about court's views on parental behaviours. I suspect that the Scarberry case will get published.

Another way is through legislative action. Cases that clearly demonstrate and provide support for the need of legislation that affects child custody always piques my interest a little more than those which are typical cases.

Ultimately though my decision on whether to dedicate myself to a parent will be dependent upon whether the parent's desire will serve the best interest of the children. I will determine this through an interview where I will not be fooled. So, if you want my assistance then the first thing you best want is what is best for your children, the parent-child relationships, and a workable parent-parent relationship. Any hostility or animosity towards the other parent, desire for retribution or longing for "your rights" and "justice" should be left in the past.

I am willing to work with you and your children for the now and the future. I'll follow this posting with - Molding your lifestyle to win a child custody battle - where I will touch upon all the services I provide in ensuring that you are the best parent you can be for your child and what you should anticipate the judicial preferences for parental behaviour to be in a contested child custody battle.

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Parents who would like to achieve the best outcome for their children in a contested child custody case should visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. Attorneys may request a free consultation to learn how I can maximize their advocacy for their clients.

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©2008, 2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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