If you have ever met me, you probably heard me say, “act in a manner consistent with your goals.” So, what does that mean in the course of any family law case? It means what it says: figure out what your goals are, then try your best to execute those goals.
Let me give you an example (the following example is an exaggerated set of “facts,” not based on anyone I have actually met, and only offered to give you an idea of what NOT to do):
Let’s say you have been married for nine (9) years and have five (5) children with your spouse. Eighteen (18) months ago, you moved to Europe and have not seen, or even spoken to, your children. Not once, in eighteen (18) months. You are now back in Fort Collins and want to file a divorce. You have questions about custody, a.k.a. the allocation of parental responsibilities, and we meet to discuss your case. In our initial consultation you tell me you want to be the primary residential parent of all of your children and your spouse should only have supervised parenting time. Your spouse is fine, a pretty good parent, you just want him/her out of the picture. You haven’t seen the kids in 18 months, and it is your turn to care for the children.
See the problem? If you believe it is in your children’s best interests for you to be the primary residential parent, then it’s probably not a good idea to disappear for 18 months. You were not acting in a manner consistent with your goals.
OK, that was an absurd example, but it does show why it is important to behave in a way that is consistent with the outcome you want. If you are acting contrary to your goals, your actions may be persuasive evidence of how things should continue. If you think equal parenting time is best for your children, then do the best you can to execute equal parenting time. If you believe your children need another parenting time schedule, do your best to execute that schedule. And if you are in an unsafe environment, please get help immediately.
If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse does not agree with your goals, then we have methods to accomplish the goals during the dissolution of marriage proceeding, i.e., emergency orders (with allegations of imminent harm), a temporary orders hearing, experts, negotiation, mediation, etc. For today, I encourage you to spend some time trying to identify your goals. Then give me a call so we can discuss how to accomplish those goals.