“You only have one opportunity to do this right. Being successfully divorced takes as much effort as it takes to being successfully married. It is just not easy. You have to work at it. Far too many people want to take the easy way out. They don’t want to live up to their responsibilities and duties. It’s nice and easy to blame the court, blame the friend of the court, blame each other. I don’t care who you blame—for good measure you can even throw in God or the Devil. You can blame any and all of them. It won’t change the result of your children’s ruined lives if you refuse to be the parents that it takes to be to get the job done. It is not easy, but it certainly is not impossible unless you make it so. Too many people want to take the easy way out and say it is someone else’s fault. It doesn’t help your children!
Folks, I’m going to say this to you very honestly, sincerely, and genuinely: I hope you have a nice day and I hope I never have to see either one of you back down here again. If you pull that one off, you have no idea what a favor you’ve done for yourselves.
This is not a happy place to do business. The only reason people are down here is because they can’t figure out how to be parents with each other and they get upset when someone tells them what to do. When you take one of these issues to court—custody, parenting time—you are no longer in charge. Strangers are! And I am going to tell you right now, there is nobody sitting in this room right now who will ever know all about you, your situation, your circumstances, your finances, you schedules, your hopes, your goals, your desires for yourselves and your children more than the two of you. And there is nobody in a better position to be able to fashion the best available remedy to the problem.
It may not be ideal, may not be perfect, may not even be a solution you like, but I guarantee you that if you put your heads together and put a little effort in to it, it is going to be better than something that some judge is going to come up with off the top of their head. They are going to stick it on you and say “go ahead and go home and make that work”. The Judge doesn’t have to live with that decision. The Judge doesn’t have to make it work. You do. And if you are going to have to live with it and make it work, it makes plain, practical, simple common sense that you put some effort into it trying to come up with the best solution you could, rather than paying for the privilege of having some judge tell you to go home and make it work. Those judges are not child raising experts. They are only trained in the law they will give you an answer that is right (only because it is not wrong – next case!). I am convinced you can do better than that. People they get their bugs up their bonnets, and then turn this into a slug fest. It is very difficult to go back and re-establish a working and trusting relationship after that. Folks, good luck and good day!”