By witkinnatha39284922, May 11 2016 01:02AM
Before the Information Revolution, overworked judges would have to decide deeply important issues of child custody and visitation through the demanor of parties as they testified in court. What the children told the judge or custody investigator carried a lot of weight because it was the only window into the actions of the parties outside of court (where life happens and children need skilled parents). As a result, parents placed a lot of pressure on the children, leading to coaching, manipulation, and the stress of having to choose one parent over the other (imagine an inversion of "Sophie's Choice" where, instead of Meryl Streep having to choose between her two children, the children have to choose between her and their father, like in "Kramer v. Kramer").
And then Facebook and text messages were invented. Now, unless you avoid all of the popular ways that people communicate, your true character will either shine or be raked through the muck before the case reaches trial. This is because parents communicate (or do not communicate) outside of court, and this information is now readily available. Judges focus on the best interest of the children and understand that divorce and custody cases are hard on them. Much of the reason for this is that their parents are undergoing the emotional trauma of a breakup. Parenting is extraordinarily difficult, and it is made harder when one parent no longer wants to be with the other parent, each parent is taking on parental responsibilities without the help of the other, and the children want to go back to how it was when their parents were not engaging in emotional warfare. Through this, each parent needs to ensure the children that both parents will love and be there for them.
What seems to occur more often are denials of parenting time, arguments with the children in the middle, children being bribed, and general nastiness. Now, these things are recorded in text messages, Facebook posts, and smart phone apps that record audio and video.
The lessons to be learned here: Don't be a jerk during your divorce or custody case, and if the other parent is being a jerk, record it and send it to your lawyer. This new dynamic will hopefully start leading to people behaving better in custody cases. Your every action is being watched, your bad intentions will surface if you have them, and your efforts to fake genuinely skilled parenting will be caught. So, let go of the relationship, treat the other parent as a good co-worker, and do not text or post anything stupid during your divorce or custody case.