Chapter 67

The big day

Sooner but what can seem much later your day in court will come, and with it your chance to be heard. If today is the big day you probably slept little last night. Out of the million and one possibilities, scenarios or outcomes you may have come up with in your head, there is likely to be only one and that will belong to the judge. If you have your house in order, your big day may bring about some changes. Every father’s situation is different, for one reason or another, though all who have their day share the same issue: they both think they’re right. Appearing before the court isn’t a measure of success or failure. After all, if you both didn’t think you were right, you wouldn’t be there at all. Then again, the courts already know this and therefore are willing to provide some unbiased assistance to resolve this for your kids.

Many a good man has fallen by the wayside, so it is an accomplishment to have made it this far. In doing so, you have brought a factor to your equation who has the power to answer your questions and change your parenting situation. If Jane has reigned over and dominated the parenting scene, and your house is in order, there’s a good chance her days of flying solo are up and some orders, even if temporary, will be made. One way or another, your solicitor and Jane’s could be instructed to broker a deal. It may not be everything you want, but it could be a chance to reunite with your children. To have brought your situation before the court is at least a small victory, if you need to see it that way. But the judge isn’t there to hand out awards for effort. You may both be convinced you’re right, and you’re in the right place to be heard, but the truth is you’re both wrong to argue. You’re also wrong to think court is a place to fight. It’s not so much game on as game over. The only winner should be the kids. All that’s needed for this to happen is for you and Jane to start being cooperative………..

Chapter 69

The big question

The most important question you can raise as a parent is, what’s best for my kids? Although this might seem like a ‘how long is a piece of string’ kind of question, it’s the one a judge will be asking as they peruse your application for care. What you think as a father is important, and if Jane won’t consider your views then a mediator or a court will. What matters is you have a clear and considered plan, which features your kids’ interests above all, including your own.

Without knowing the answer to the big question, what will you be asking for? Knowing the answer will help you construct a plan that is practical, workable and sustainable. Coming up with a complicated solution based on fuzzy logic will bring you undone, so use the KISS formula and keep it simple, stupid. Kids thrive on continuity in their lives and so will you. Keeping your plan simple and regular is very different from seeking ‘equality’. Confusing issues is the quickest way to mess up any plan, and employing hemotions won’t help you formulate an answer either. Although many parenting plans work off a fortnightly calendar, if you can construct a plan that works week in week out, it will be easier for you to maintain and for Jane and your kids to understand……….

Chapter 71

The reasons why?

For some blokes it may be the last question you ask your solicitor as you exit the court through its big wooden doors. For others, it’s a question they will ask themselves for years to come. The sole purpose of this book is to prevent this question from ever being asked again. If the three golden rules weren’t clear enough, then hopefully the 50,000 words of reason that followed helped to paint an honest picture of this jungle. No doubt there will be many factors that inform and shape the court’s judgment. Some will be of critical importance and some will simply add weight to and influence other considerations.

The reasons why, whether or not you agree with them, will be considered, but just what is considered is shaped in part by your behaviour, actions and submissions. Argument is your enemy because it is fuel on the fire that’s raged between you and Jane. The faster this can be brought under control, and possibly extinguished, the greater your chances are of achieving and maintaining an equitable parenting order. Arguments with Jane in your former life cannot be undone or erased, and yes, she might be like an elephant in that respect, but we can forgive even if we never really forget……….