Many families who experience a divorce or custody case find themselves returning to family court over and over for modification and enforcement proceedings. One problem gets resolved and then another one pops up. Sometimes the same issue is re-litigated over and over. The courthouse doorway becomes a revolving door and families get stuck in it. This is expensive, frustrating, and stressful. Keeping your family out of court will make everyone feel calmer and happier. Follow these tips to stay out of family court.
- Change things up. Instead of yelling at each other, making threats, or increasing conflict, completely change the way you and your ex deal with each other. Refuse to engage in fights. Stop having your usual kneejerk responses. Tell your ex it’s in both your best interests to stay out of court. Schedule a meeting with your ex and ask a friend to sit in help you both stay calm and rational as you try to work out a compromise.
- Stop using court as your conflict resolution method. There may be issues and problems that you cannot resolve on your own, but that doesn’t mean your first response should be filing papers. If you can’t work things out alone, consider mediation. A neutral third party mediator meets with both of you and helps you find solutions without going to court.
- Figure out what’s not going to change and find other ways to deal with it. For example, your ex is never going to be on time for visitation, so instead of fighting it, mentally change the time to 15 minutes later to adapt to his or her problem. Realize your ex is never going to speak politely to you, so stop speaking and instead rely on texts or emails.
DeTorres & DeGeorge helps you with all of your post-decree modification and enforcement issues for family law in New Jersey.