A short time ago I had a conversation with a lawyer who had been the subject of a custody battle between her parents more than thirty years ago. Later in life, she decided to satisfy her curiosity of what her parents had said to the court, and obtained copies of all the pleadings they filed. In New Jersey, as in many states, very few documents are sealed or confidential, allowing this woman to access all of the certifications, or affidavits, her parents filed.

With an Ivy League education, this attorney certainly understood the litigation process and the heightened emotions it triggers. She said reading what her parents said about each other changed her relationship with them forever, even all those years later. While she knew they were fighting over her, she did not know at the time what was being presented to the judge, and she had had a lingering curiosity.

So often, parents who are seeking custody of children are clouded by the process and the swirling emotions that are pervasive in a divorce, or custody battle. They are angry, hurt, and in many cases, frightened about not having control over the future. In all but the smallest number of cases, lifestyles and dreams are about to drastically change. The relationship with the children may be the only thing that a parent thinks can be maintained. However, even that relationship has to change when the two parents start living apart.

In most cases, the children love both parents and want to have a good relationship with both. Also, in most cases, the children have two good parents who both deserve to have an active role in raising the children. Their lives are also changing drastically, which is frightening, and they don’t need to find out all of the terrible things that one parent thought about the other.

It is so easy to say, post on social media, or write in a court pleading terrible things about the other parties’ parenting style that may not be truly accurate. Just because the other parent has done terrible things to his or her partner does not mean that he or she is a bad parent. Also, just because the other parent’s parenting style may differ from your own, doesn’t mean your opinion should be broadcast in a public forum.

When custody and parenting time are in dispute, your lawyer can guide you to resolve those issues prior to resorting to the public arena of the court system.