Friday, July 15, 2011

The Best and the Worst

I have been traversing the countryside and nearby towns lately perusing yard sales. This multifaceted endeavor, usually accomplished on my bicycle, is providing for at least a nominal degree of exercise. I am also getting the benefit of acquiring some useful, sometimes previously unknown to me, products that may just make my life a bit easier.

Often times I am getting the tried and true, quality constructed small kitchen appliances that simply can't be found at the modern mass-merchandisers. Commensurate to these benefits is the savings realized by often paying only about 10-25% of retail price. Topping this off is my acquisition of goods that I manage to resell for a profit which culminates in my ultimately having no final cost in my acquired goods.

Before this becomes soporific let me be succinct about the purpose of today's posting. Today two yard sales reminded me of the desultory fashion by which some parents approach their child custody matters.

I first stopped at a sale where the tables were uniformly arranged and the wares were separated by category. The CD's were even stacked label-side up and separated by genre. Everything was individually priced or signs on the table clearly indicated the prices such as CD's or toddler clothing. I came away with a book and a CD.

A few other sales occupied my time and curiosity until I came across what I have to describe as the most cursory yard sale I have come across to date. This was advertised as: 106 N. Main St.-Whitestown Everything must go! Glassware, furniture, golf cart, Harley stuff, 86 Dodge 300 convertible-original, signed baseball from 1950 's era. Too much to list all!!!

What I believe this actually is was an attempt to comply with a health department order. The items were strewn about a yard, most appeared rain damaged and nothing was priced. There was also a sign that directed shoppers to the spurious sale continuing inside a pole barn. Once in there I was treated to the delight of what appeared to be a squatters residence. There was a couch, television, bedding linens and various instruments of domestication.

So in this day I have faced the best and the worst of yard sales that I have been to this year. I was struck by the similarity to parents involved in child custody hearings.

Earlier this year I was called to meet with a parent well over a week in advance of the hearing. This parent was cognizant that adequate preparation was a precursor to a successful hearing. Just as the initial yard sale of this day, everything she had was sorted by subject, clearly labeled and organized in to folders such as evidence, law, pleadings and communications. Considering the voluminous data to comprehend and then convey to the attorney it couldn't have been done without her organizational skills.

Then there is the opposite. It was the email that arrived in the afternoon immediately preceding the hearing the next morning. The reply to the contract and scheduling information sent a month earlier had arrived to my scheduler seeking a meeting with me that evening and an appearance in court the following morning. For that type of person I have two words; good luck.

In these situations I usually tell my scheduler to send a reply the following afternoon stating that he needs an application to be mailed, as previously instructed, and then he will schedule an appointment.

No amount of frenetic planning or indignant discord is going to get me to provide assistance to this type of parent. There is nothing mysterious about what type of parent does this. The only mystery is the motivation and why they even bother with the process in their seemingly perfunctory manner.

I know this is an inveterate behaviour on the part of the parent that does not serve the child's best interest. It is indicative of the sporadic parenting in which this type of parent engages. I would not advocate for this parent but I would help. It is not my purpose to help a parent win a child custody battle though. I certainly don't want to be a party to compelling a child into a custody arrangement with a parent who he going to ignore the child's needs, miss important dates and treat the child as a bane as much as the impending court hearing.

There are situations where a child needs for me to assist a particular parent in a custody proceeding. More often though it is a parent who needs for me to ameliorate prior acts or those inveterate behaviours that led to a restriction on parenting time. Parents should always keep in mind that it is not about winning a case but, rather, trying to ensure that the child has the care, companionship and support of two loving parents.

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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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