I have been dealing with family court stress for over 7 years now, and I tell you what, it doesn’t get any easier. I often sit back and reflect on how I’m feeling, and although my life is pretty amazing there is always an undercurrent of stress and frustration – and this is due to the court process.
It is extremely stressful when you have a lawyer that you don’t even know, trying to convince a group of other people you don’t know that you are a horrible parent, or a horrible person. Especially when you have genuine concerns because of the abuse you may have suffered at the hands of your ex-partner.
Unfortunately, some people do use the kids to control a situation or ‘punish’ the other parent, so the court system is designed to give everyone a voice, even if they are abusing it to control, manipulate and/or cause financial stress to the other person. Even worse still, the lawyer on the other side is basically paid to make you out to be the worst person possible, even if the facts show them that this isn’t the case. This can be extremely frustrating and upsetting because you feel like you need to expend more energy to defend yourself against baseless accusations. You need to preserve your energy and your space as much as possible through this process. These are a few things I have learned about dealing with the stress of family court.
Try Not To Take Things Personally
Remember, their lawyer is paid to make you out to be horrible, even when the facts say otherwise. Don’t take anything said to heart, if you have done the right thing you have nothing to prove. Rise above everything you know is false, and don’t give it any space in your mind. They don’t actually know you, all they know is what your ex has told them.
Don’t Respond Emotionally
As hard as this may be, always keep your cool. Do not emotionally respond. It may be very tempting to respond to every affidavit, but you don’t need to. Judges are extremely good at seeing through manipulation and lies. Trust the system and only respond to things you need to respond to. Don’t be petty, it doesn’t solve anything. Compromise as much as you possibly can without risking your or your children’s well-being.
Make sure you keep a record of everything you do in accordance with any orders that may be put in place. They may try and say you haven’t stuck to anything, so make sure you have ample proof. This is also the case before you leave an abusive partner, keep a record of all the correspondence and any abuse via a log that has the dates, times and nature of the abuse. This will all come in handy one day, I promise you.
Plan For The Worst Financially
Fighting for your children is worth every penny. So budget around it. Ask your lawyer how much the worst case scenario will be, and put away enough money each week to cover that. Cut things out of your lifestyle if you have to.
Look After Yourself
Make sure you are pampering yourself and caring for yourself through this stressful time. Yoga, massages, chocolate – whatever you love doing, make sure you make time for that and don’t let the court case overwhelm your mind. Court cases can go on for years, so it will become a normal part of your life for a while. I have learned to live with the fact that I may spend another 7 years in court and I’ve made peace with that now. At the end of the day, it is all worth it for the safety and protection of your children.
You can get free legal advice in Australia from the places listed here:
https://www.wlssa.org.au/ – Womens legal service SA
https://lsc.sa.gov.au/cb_pages/legal_advice.php – Legal Services Commission Australia
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