Mutually assured dysfunction

Sadly, there are way too many custody in which both parents have “issues” that would lead their fitness to be questioned if the other parent raised them. Much like the United States and USSR, which stockpiled nuclear weapons they hoped never to use as a “mutually assured destruction” deterrent, these parents stockpile–but typically do not or cannot use–evidence of the other parent’s dysfunction as a way inhibiting the other parent from using their dysfunction against them. While it might be better for their children if these parents fixed their respective dysfunctions, this would require actual effort, and dysfunctional parents are rarely willing to put in the effort.

This is one reason the family court routinely appoints guardians in contested custody cases. See S.C. Code § 63-3-810(A)(1) (“In a private action before the family court in which custody or visitation of a minor child is an issue, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem only when it determines that without a guardian ad litem, the court will likely not be fully informed about the facts of the case and there is a substantial dispute which necessitates a guardian ad litem…”). Experienced family law attorneys who notice that both parents have substantial fitness issues will often deliberately not raise either party’s fitness issues in the hope that no guardian will be appointed and in the (smaller) hope that the client will fix the dysfunction first. Meanwhile the children suffer.

I am amazed at how often folks in custody disputes attempt to muddle through without fixing their parenting dysfunctions. They will complain to their attorney about the other side’s dysfunction without being willing to fix their own dysfunction. An inexperienced or overly aggressive attorney will raise the other party’s unfitness to the court–at which point the other party will raise one’s own client’s unfitness to the court, with the result being the child is placed with a third-party. An experienced attorney will tell the client that this unfitness must be ignored until the client remedies his or her own fitness issues. Such counsel is counter to every justice-seeking impulse one has as an attorney and as a parent–making the advice extremely uncomfortable to give. However it’s the only good advice to provide a client unwilling to address his or her own lack of fitness.

A military defense system predicating upon complete destruction of both sides was insane and immoral. So too a custody strategy premised upon both parties remaining dysfunctional. Such clients are among the least pleasant and most exhausting to represent. Pity their children.

Put Mr. Forman’s experience, knowledge, and dedication to your service for any of your South Carolina family law needs.

Retain Mr. Forman

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