I am a TV addict. I watch pretty much everything â€“ sitcoms, reality, dramas. (Fortunately Iâ€™m also addicted to my DVR so forward through a lot of the boring bits. Sorry, Nicki Minaj, I donâ€™t really care what you have to say.) Â And I also watch a lot of courtroom shows â€“ Judge Joe Brown, Judge Judy, The Peopleâ€™s Court and, of course, Divorce Court. Â And so often I want to slap the tv. Â As there is so much misinformation given. Â Coming from these supposed experts. Â Too often they will say â€œthis is the lawâ€. Â And it might be where they are from. Â But its not the law everywhere. Â And they really need to preface that. Â As I canâ€™t tell you how many clients will tell me what they believe is right because they saw it on tv. Â So just to put it out there â€“ donâ€™t get your information from a tv show. Â And not even from your brother/sister/aunt/grandma in another state. As Arizona and even Pima County has its own very specific laws.
Although I did see something today that was interesting. Â On â€œAnderson Liveâ€ (okay, Iâ€™m biased, as I LOVE Anderson Cooper) he had on an attorney named Vikki Ziegler. Â And she gave the Top Three Custody Battle Mistakes. Â While I donâ€™t know if they are the TOP Three, they were pretty good.
1) Sharing info on social media. Â Yeah, those pictures on facebook of you at the bar drinking and looking really wasted could come back to haunt you. This applies not just to divorce, but many aspects of life. Â Iâ€™m a big facebook fan, but be careful.
2) Failing to keep a journal. Â A journal noting when each parent had the kids, what meals where provided, even what foods were given might (according to Ms. Ziegler) prove valuable at a later date. Â While Iâ€™m not so sure about this, it certainly couldnâ€™t hurt. Â And when I worked for attorneys, I did see it used.
3) Talking badly about your ex. Ms. Ziegler stated the trend is shared parenting time . Â This doesnâ€™t necessarily mean equal, but definitely more than the â€œevery other weekendâ€ of the past. Â Our new Arizona statutes do indeed seem to encourage more involvement by both parents, ie: for parenting to be more of a team effort. Â And talking badly about your ex goes against this. Not to mention it can cause a lot of anxiety for the kids.
Granted, these are issues in custody battles. And the majority of divorces in Arizona arenâ€™t battles. Â As so much is set by law. Â Not to mention, a battle can be quite costly. As Ms. Ziegler pointed out, the cost of a divorce can be astronomical, people often selling their homes or liquidating their 401ks to pay attorneysâ€™ fees. Â And it shouldnâ€™t be that way.
So consult a legal document preparer or an attorney to find out what is fair. Â And then make a decision that is in the best interest of your children. Â Donâ€™t fight simply to fight. Â As when you do, often no one wins.