This is the 4th of 8 myths voiced by parents David and Laura Sherwood in #TalktoStrangersFilm to rationalize their custody litigation. As the story proceeds, we see how much the kids are humiliated and compromised by the process.
Nick is humiliated at being taken off the football field by Laura to meet with the attorney for the minor children (04:47)  , and again when he returns to try on the last team jersey left, which is ridiculously large (07:30). We also see Nick trying to conceal a stuffed animal from Family Services Officer Ms. Castillo during her home visit (13:21). Even courthouse security procedures cause Emily discomfiture (15:30).
Fifty years ago, a song called “What the World Needs Now Is Love” assured us that love was the only thing the world needed more of.
Not to nitpick, but love isn’t the only thing the world has too little of. These days, it seems there’s an increasingly short supply of empathy as well. And lack of empathy can be a serious hindrance to settling your case, whether you choose ADR or a court-based divorce.
Donald Trump relishes serving his audiences a fact-free cocktail of misogyny, racism, victimization fantasies, conspiracy theories, and a brutish “us-against-them” mentality.
One of The Donald’s favorite expressions of that toxic brew is “libel-bullying”: serial threats of legal action against those who criticize or disagree with him. Trump has promised to prosecute Hillary Clinton for… we’re not sure exactly what; and vowed to take legal action against a myriad of other folks including his dozen sexual assault accusers, numerous media outlets, super-PACs, and the creator of unflattering (though hilarious) sculptures of him. And to foster this riot of libel bullying, Trump has promised that as president he will (somehow) “open up” the libel laws.
This is the third of the eight myths that parents David and Laura Sherwood voice in #TalktoStrangersFilm to rationalize their custody litigation. They both express confidence in their ability to protect their children, 12-year-old Emily and 9-year-olds Nicholas (02:45) from emotional harm.
In fact, David doesn’t consider the custody litigation a “battle” (03:02). As the story develops, however, we see how the custody evaluation process itself takes a toll on children. Even where parents are not overly antagonistic toward each other, the custody evaluation process itself can humiliate, frighten and compromise kids.
Parents contemplating child custody or access battles often grasp for reasons to justify subjecting their children to an ordeal that may be more about the parents’ warfare than the children’s welfare. Many of those parents use popular myths about child-related litigation to rationalize placing their kids on the custody battlefield.
Where children are at risk for abuse or neglect, family court orders may well be necessary to protect them. Parents resorting to the courts for those purposes don’t need myths—or any excuse at all—to justify keeping their children safe. It’s the parents who litigate children’s issues because they’re unwilling to do the heavy lifting required to resolve them, who find solace in custody myths.
Chicago, IL, November 3, 2015 — The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has announced plans to distribute the Telly Award-winning film, Talk to Strangers, in association with its writer/director, Connecticut attorney and filmmaker Larry Sarezky. The 25-minute dramatic film tells the story of a sister and her younger brother struggling to navigate the child custody evaluation process typically used in family courts throughout the United States.
A number of popular myths about child-related court proceedings lure separating parents into poor, and sometimes disastrous decisions regarding their children. At the beginning of the short film Talk to Strangers, David and Laura Sherwood, a pair of well-meaning but misguided parents articulate a number of these myths. Two of them are discussed in this article. Separating parents need to understand how these myths underestimate the impact on children of child-related court battles.
Myth #1: “Judges Protect Children During Divorce.”
“Unbundled representation,” also known as “discrete task” or “limited scope” representation can, in the right circumstances, save divorcing spouses a lot of money.
In the approximately 40 states that permit it, unbundled representation allows divorcing individuals to choose which parts of their case a lawyer will handle. Tasks that can be easily separated from the rest of a case lend themselves to “unbundling.”
Those tasks include:
- • Court proceedings such as temporary custody or support hearings and trial
- • Where permitted, drafting court filings (“ghost-writing”)
- • Drafting settlement agreements
- • Providing legal advice and opinions upon request
Larry Sarezky, Esq.
The good news is there is a wealth of advice about divorce available.
The bad news is there is a wealth of advice about divorce available.
Much of the advice you receive as you move through your divorce will come from friends and family, members of divorce support groups, and thousands of blogs, articles, and official-looking though quite often inaccurate websites. Advice from these sources is of limited value because it is offered:
- • With no knowledge, and/or little understanding, of the facts of your case
If you can afford a divorce lawyer, you should hire one. There’s too much at stake and too many complexities in divorce to risk “winging it” without expert advice. However, you can save some money by delaying hiring a lawyer while you complete a number of tasks:
- • File for divorce yourself using forms available on your state’s court system website
- • Use a certified divorce planner or certified divorce financial analyst who charge substantially less than lawyers, to
- • Help you organize your financial paperwork
- • Help you prepare your financial disclosure statement