The idea that if you prove the other parent has a mental illness or is a narcissist will solve all of your custody problems is a very common one that we address regularly with attorneys, parents, divorce coaches, advocates, and other professionals.
Before we started teaching how the constitution protects parents, (flaws and all – see this post), it was actually very common for attorneys and other professionals to advise parents to ask for psych evals to try to tip the scales to win child custody. They still do this regularly if they have never talked to us.
Let’s start with how other professionals are using their experience and combining that with what we teach. One example is the Facebook post that Catherine MacWillie, divorce coach, just made recently that says it nicely:
“Spoke to another parent yesterday who said they and their attorney wanted to get a psych evaluation ordered on the other parent. That they were sure psych eval would show other parent was a narcissist. They felt that would solve all their problems/custody. I explained that most of the population is diagnosed with some sort of issue these days and court wasn’t going to take or limit custody based on this issue alone. Not to mention the costs and delays to the entire divorce process. Their children were young so they were likely in this for the long haul. So many parents talked into costly and time-consuming decisions so that later on there is no money to maintain/keep custody. Heartbreaking for everyone especially children who lose the ability to have both parents in their lives.”
So where should you start?
Start by re-shaping the way you fight. Save as much money as you can by not asking for things that are not likely to get you to your goal. And we hope that one of your goals is ending the court conflict as quickly as possible and coming out of it with as much of yours and your child’s rights to be with each other without the control of the other parent as possible.
If it is, you can do this by starting with Chapter 2, in the book, “NOT in The Child’s Best Interest” page 18 where we explain that “it is not their role to protect the child from every harm or difficulty there is in life…” Imagine how intrusive the government would be in your life if they were allowed to come in and take every child from every parent who needed counseling or medication for bipolar, anxiety, depression, or was a narcissist, etc. Nobody would have their child! Think of people like Trump, the Clintons, and Obama. Have they been perfect models for parenting? So the next time you get sucked into thinking that you are just asking the court to protect your children, ask yourself whether what you are asking for protection from is child abuse to the legal definition or child abuse to your definition or what you would like them to consider child abuse.
There is nothing that shows that every parent who is a narcissist, bipolar, or has depression is harmful or a danger to their child. In fact, studies have shown that children who have parents with flaws actually do better in life as an adult because they learned tools on how to manage and deal with these things in life. (See prior blog posts for these studies.) As long as these conditions have not reached the level of being abusive to the standard of what the law defines as child abuse (see Texas Child Protection laws for standard) then that parent is entitled to their flaws and to their child, and that child to that parent, regardless of how uncomfortable that may be for you, your attorney, or even a judge. (See our book, declaratory judgment motions, and online course for case law references.)
The protective role that the judge should be serving this day is protecting the child by protecting the ability of the parents to continue to raise the child in how each parent sees fit. Explain how this works and use any authorities and experts that you have to back it up, like Dr. Craig Childress on how children depend on the parents and any papers you dig up that talk about how children know and love each of their parents for who they are, including all of their idiosyncrasies and their flaws. When you take those away or bring people in to change those you rob the child not only of their security but you make their parents strangers. You can look to Amy J. Baker’s writings and Dr. Kathleen Reay’s to help support these ideas as well. (You could also demonstrate how the judge is also serving the public and the public policy and how the way things have been done hasn’t actually served this purpose.” (From this post: Feeding the Family Law System).
Meaning that there are certain things in life that are normal for children and society even if they are not the definition of what we might define as ideal or normal. These natural and normal flaws and deviations are not something that the court can protect or should protect a child from. If they are charged with that task then we would all be harassed and monitored by the courts constantly. And you will pay a lot of money. (See this blog post for some estimates on what you might pay.) And that is precisely what is happening right now with people going through divorce. The courts encourage each parent to attack each other so that the court can justify costing you thousands of dollars to ask the court to pick based on nothing more than bias and personal beliefs. These are things that the courts otherwise would not be allowed to do. The cost is one prohibiting factor and the protections of yours and your child’s fundamental rights is another.
So what do the courts do, they just wait for you to ask them to impose these costs on you. As long as you are asking the court to do this, you are consenting and forfeiting the protections of your rights. And then you are subject to the biased opinion of a mental health professional. (See Dr. Childress post on biased mental health evaluations.)The court then doesn’t have to worry about justifying the burdens that they place on you. Precisely why you have rights and why the courts don’t want you to use them.
For example, when you bear children, you are not required to be free from flaws or mental health issues. Hell, there are many judges who are on bipolar medication, anti-depressants, and narcissists. And many of them have children. There is no test or law that requires each of these parents to pass these tests or lose their child. But in divorce, you are held to these standards, and you are convinced to hold the other parent to these impossible standards as well. In divorce, the courts make you think that any parental flaw, including anything you can call a mental health disorder, is something that should be used as a measure to take a child or choose one parent over the other.
So the next time you are tempted to run to the judge and ask for the judge to impose an expense on either of you to prove a standard that you weren’t held to during your marriage, know what you are getting in to and reach first for Fix Family Courts declaratory judgment motions, books, and materials to help you be free from the other parent interfering with your time and rights to your child.
Your rights are not dependent on getting along with the other parent. Your rights are not dependent on whether you can take time and rights from the other parent unless you play that game. If you want to terminate a parent that is a different thing. But if you are having to use tricks and tactics to undermine the other parent’s time and rights because the other parent cannot be terminated, then you might be better off just keeping out of the crossfire of the other parent. Your rights can do that for you.
Get the information that other divorce coaches, advocates, attorneys, and professionals like Catherine MacWillie are using to help their customers navigate the confusing and expensive process of the divorce courts right here in this book and in our online course, “Protecting Family Rights.”
The motions can be found here: Declaratory Judgment Motion Samples
The book can be found here: “NOT in The Child’s Best Interest” (If you already have the book and online course, then contact us for an appointment to further your understanding of how to use the materials here: Contact Us
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