Being in family court is like being in a play. A tragic play. Like Les Miserables.
Everything is an orchestrated act. The court room a grand stage. It starts with the judge, usually a white male, in their special robes dating back seven centuries, in their special chairs, at their elevated desks looking down at people. If the robes were meant to be a symbol of dignity and fairness, I can assure you that that was not present in my hearings.
Then there are the lawyers. Fresh suits matching their fresh wit. Different personas and tactics for each different judge. Do they placate or prostrate? Are they demanding and forceful or is their shtick care and compassion? Some of them are the best actors, the best intuits, the best liars.
In come the families. Dressed in their fanciest clothes, they create an aura that says I’m not only a parent, but the best parent that has ever existed on this planet, and in all of creation. I am Mother Mary.
Everyone in a family court room feels as if they’re in trouble. It’s like when you go to the border, and you’re a good and innocent person, but you feel like you’ve done something wrong. That’s the court vibe.
When the hearing begins, you must place away all of your feelings. No human emotions are permitted in the courts. Stoicism for the win. Crying makes you look like a weak and ineffectual parent. Women are placed in the box of being overly emotional and dramatic. You must suppress your fear as well. And be tough, but flexible. Caring, but in charge. Anger at unfairness should be suppressed and controlled. You must pretend to be congenial with your ex as though you have completely worked through forgiveness and understanding, and have raised your vibration to match the Dalai Lamas. Everything said in a court room should just roll off your back. Zero facial expressions.
And you cannot ever make a mistake as a parent. Perfection is key. And you need to convince the judge that you have never erred or slipped up ever. Ever ever.
Then pretend, and pretend, and pretend, and pretend some more.
To all the mamas entrenched in the family court system – I surround you in love and I send you a big, big, HUGE hug.