How To Get Full Custody Of Your Child
Hi I’m Dr. Paul Jenkins. Today on Hero TV, will you give me your attention just for a few minutes? while we have a little chat I’m going to answer the question how to get full custody of your child So you’re concerned about child custody. This is something I have a lot of experience with for about 13 years in my career. I did child custody evaluations for the court and I have some ideas for you as you are positioning yourself or trying to figure out how to negotiate that particular part of this, of this challenge that you’ve come up against in your life. Now little disclaimer to start with I am a psychologist I am NOT an attorney. This is not legal advice. Got it? Not legal advice. Please seek counsel from your legal advisors, your attorneys, that’s where you get your legal advice. I’m coming at this from a very different perspective. Okay? as a child psychologist, my focus has been in the past on children and the best interest of those children. Now obviously, I’m concerned about parents too. I want you to have a good experience. But here’s what I found in those 13 years of experience doing child custody evaluations. The court is a terrible place to solve family problems. I know that it has advantages. It’s set up on an adversarial system. Family law is kind of the forgotten stepchild of the legal industry it’s not a great place to solve family problems and it violates a number of principles that allow people to actually have some of the better outcomes. So with that little disclaimer, let’s talk for a minute about what divorce represents to children. This will give the perspective that I think will help. When mom and dad are together, and everyone is still at home, the child’s world can be represented by this circle. It’s very nicely circumscribed into one experience. When mom and dad separate and create a multi household family, whether they’re divorced yet or not, if there are two households represented in this family, for the child their world starts to look like this.
Now, we might title this side mom’s world and this other side obviously would be dad’s world. Now where are the children? Right there. here’s where the kids are They’re in this intersection between the two worlds. Now again I’m talking about what this looks like from their perspective. Because for mom and dad it’s a whole different issue and remember children’s issues are not the parents issues. So whatever is troubling you or going through your mind about this whole divorce, and the stories, and the accusations, and all the fun stuff that comes up with divorce, those aren’t your kids issues. Dr. Elizabeth Ellis summarized in her book, “divorce wars” now this was a compilation of a lot of research it’s kind of academic, it’s kind of a hard read, but let me summarize for you something that she said, “there are five factors that determine the outcome of divorce for children” If you will make a comment down below in the comment section I’d be happy to follow up and send you a copy of what those five factors are just a quick summary. I’m only going to focus on the first one today because it is far above all of the other factors in terms of its power and the magnitude of the impact it has on children, and that factor is conflict. Conflict. Primarily conflict between the parents about the children. Now think about it, if two warring sides are going at it, it’s not safe to be here in the middle. And where are the children? they’re right in the middle of those two worlds. So if these two worlds are at war, those children are in a no safety zone. And it creates such stress and anxiety and children continue to love both of their parents. This is something I feel strongly about children need to have an ongoing healthy relationship with both of their parents. Now that’s going to give us a clue as to how we can approach a custody dispute. okay first of all, children are not property. They are people. So we need to treat them as such and remember that the children’s outcomes are determined primarily by how well the conflict is managed between their parents. So if we’re in a custody dispute, we’ve already got some inherent problems.
Now those aren’t insurmountable but we need to be sensitive to that because this is what will affect the children the most. So if we go back to our model and you realize that only one of these worlds is within your control, although a lot of the concerns and that, and the problems that you’re identifying you’re probably in the other world. Here’s the first clue, take care of the problems in your own world. Get your focus in. If I’m dad and this is my world, I get to focus on dad’s world and create in this world the most sane, stable, loving environment that I possibly can. Now, as a, as a child custody evaluator in all those years that I worked in the court system, I looked for that. Now everybody’s coming in with their stories about who hurt who and why you’re the victim and it’s their fault. Yeah. The judges are used to that the, evaluators are used to that. They hear it all the time and even though this is new for you, it’s not new for them. So what am I looking for as an evaluator? I’m looking for a sane, stable, loving environment. Get to work on your world and get the focus off of the other parents world because not only do you not have any control there, the more you focus on it, the more you frustrate and annoy other people. Have you noticed that too? So let’s get the focus back on our own world. One final thought on taking care of your own world, you also do not want to be in the position of vilifying the other parent and this is easy to do because you’ve got your stories. Now, let’s upgrade this just a little bit to because some people tell me, “look, Dr. Paul, I don’t talk badly about my ex in front of the kids.” Nice. Thank you for that. I’m talking about taking it to a higher level than that. Where you work on your own thinking and your own perceptions in a way that you don’t hold evil feelings toward that person. This is going to take some work. If you can accomplish this, not only is that better for your children, it puts you in a stronger position. I can tell you from all the experience I’ve had in court, that if I as an evaluator or the judge saw someone who is so angry and bitter toward their ex, that they would not even tolerate their children having a relationship with that person, that send up all kinds of red flags for me not about the spouse about the person who was vilifying or having such bitter feelings toward that spouse. Because that translates into creating conflict for the children. This is one of the hardest things I’m going to ask you to do. But you get your own heart and mind into a place where you don’t carry those evil feelings and that’s going to take some work. Hire somebody to help you. Get a coach, go through some therapy, do whatever you need to do to get this in order. Right? to get into your own world and make sure your own world is the most sane, loving, stable environment that is possible and it’s friendly toward that other parent. So, that’s powerful and that’s probably the most important thing. The next thing, follows right along and that is to shift our focus instead of from what I’m trying to accomplish, to what is in the best interest of my children. Okay. Now what’s in the best interest of your children may or may not be the same thing that you want to see happen. Now this is hard. Swallow hard, take a deep breath, sit down, breathe, whatever you need to do to acknowledge that sometimes what is best for your children is not necessarily what you want. Now, the ideal situation for those kids and probably for you, would be to maintain a healthy happy loving family where everybody’s happy at home together. Now, if that’s not the case anymore then we have to settle for something that is kind of a second best and that second best by definition means that these kids can’t be cut in two and just split between the parents. They’re going to spend time with one and time with the other and when they’re with the other, they’re not with the one. That’s the laid land and that’s what we have to deal with. So having the level of emotional maturity that allows you to remain focused on the best interest of those children and again consult if you need to. You can go to the comments below if you have a specific question we’ll try to help you with that. But get into a place where you can focus on the best interest of the children. To wrap all of this up I think we can summarize it with… a fairly simple concept. Just to keep us focused and to keep us on the right track okay? people before problems and values before valuables.
So notice that the problems, and the valuables, and the, the conflicts become so prominent in a divorce situation that it’s really hard to keep the focus of people before problems. Remembering that divorce brings out the worst in people. Okay? You probably seen this in yourself, you’ve certainly seen it in your ex, I’ve seen it time and time again with the people that I’ve worked with. Really good, decent, awesome people turn into something a little scarier often in a divorce context. So notice that you’re not immune to that and if we can stay focused on people before problems, and then always put values before valuables, that’s how we can stay in the right frame of mind that will help us to have a better life and cope with this difficult situation that we’re going through. But it also, take this from an old custody evaluator, okay? it also puts you in the ideal position to have full custody of your kids or at least to have a situation that, that represents their best interest in the best ways that you can all move forward and experience joy even after this difficult thing has happened. Thanks so much for watching. For more videos with Paul, be sure to subscribe. And remember, be the hero. Make a difference, and live on purpose.