After fighting a bitter custody battle for my younger brother for a little over year now, these are the things I know to hold true about what it takes to bring a case to court…
-Literally no one cares. Yeah, you’re in the right (as far as you can see), you’re the victim, blah blah blah. And it doesn’t matter. People don’t want to hear about it, they most definitely don’t want to be involved while it’s going on, and even afterwards they’re not interested in the end result. People don’t want to know about your problems.
-Things will stick in your craw. No matter how thick-skinned you are, some of the things people say will haunt you, whether it’s another lie or god-forbid the truth for once, you will find yourself six months, six years, six decades down the line wondering how someone could have the audacity to say some of the shit that gets said, and in open court to boot.
-People will rake you over the coals, pretend nothing ever happened, ask you to make concessions for them, turn around and stab you in the back with whatever answer you give, whether you cave in or say no, then they’ll call you evil for being upset about it.
-In a custody case, when your child/family member(s) is/are taken from you, you grieve that loss, and just as you grieve, so does everyone around you. You all feel sadness, anger, desperation, etc all in different ways and at different times. One of the most important things I’ve learned in all this is that my brother isn’t just my brother, he is also a son, a grandson, a nephew, etc and all these people— aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, etc will and deserve to have their own emotions and their own grief, their own voice, and a way of sharing all of this in a way that they feel heard. Their suffering is just as valid as your own; don’t get mad at people for their desperation, their frustration, their hopelessness. Which brings me to my next point…
-Don’t get mad when people voice these emotions, either in confidence or in open court. Example: before what was supposed to be our final court date (which has now been pushed back to June) my oldest brother sent a message to my mother’s family being somewhat snippy, basically just looking for a reaction, and at the time I kind of flew off the handle about it because from a legal standpoint, I know better than to go spouting off to another party and stirring up trouble where there is none (that’s more of my mom’s deal anyhow). However, we are not law books and we do not live our lives in a courtroom— my brother is allowed to talk to his mother, to comment on all the crazy shit that has gone down, to be angry and to express himself, and to place blame. He is a human being with human emotions, and though it does not help our case out in front of a judge, it does not help him personally to keep everything bottled up and suffering in silence. A lot of people want to treat this as game, and in a way, you almost have to if it means getting what you want and need— but bear in mind that people are not pawns to be played.
§Rainbows & Skeletons§