Co-Parenting Requires Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills

Looking back now I can see it differently.

First Mother’s Day, the stepfather makes the stepdaughter feel crappy about wanting to see the stepmom. We speak up for ourselves and her. Then suddenly, they are trying to require that anything outside of scheduling is directed to their attorney. Give me a freaking break. By far, the most bizarre adult behavior I’ve seen, and I can’t believe I didn’t see it then.


That feels so extreme to me. What sort of conflict resolution skills support not dealing and using threatening tactics when dealing with family and children? How does this support healthy relationships to the kids? How does this make their lives better? How does this help? I did not see this extreme reaction as an indicator of future nonsensical overreactions like strangulation. Not sure I ever could have seen that coming.


The attorney sends over emails stating alleged suffering and produces nothing related to suffering. They continually communicated that there was a list of issues that needed to be resolved, then this guy starts asking us what our issues are after we already provided them to him. It was all very confusing. At the end of all it, the only alleged suffering was the fact that she got emails regarding anything but scheduling. When most of the time, she scheduled everything through the kids anyhow, so it was impossible to co-parent.


The ISSUES were that the current custody agreement did not reflect reality, the schedule they were following. The biggest issue was that her son was now living full time at our house, and they were trying to get something in writing that says we would not seek child support. At the end of the day, it was about the money with these people. It has always been about money, and nothing else matters to them.


Our issue was that they could not deal with the issues going on with my stepdaughter and we would not stop advocating for her. Any contact outside of scheduling was viewed as constant harassment.

From: Husband’s Ex-Wife Friend that is an attorney 

 Sent: Thursday, May 12, 2011 3:33 PM

 To: Husband 

 Subject: Moving Forward

Thanks again for sending me the journal and the email. I have instructed them not to respond. Please do not take this as a reflection upon the concerns you expressed in your email because it is not. Rather, it is my feeling that emotions are running high right now, and it is better to allow things to cool down.

The above being said, and assuming I have seen all of the journal entries, I would like to get a list of issues from you that you would like to get resolved. Once that is done, I would like to work cooperatively with you to resolve those issues if at all possible.

I look forward to receiving this information from you and moving forward.

Thanks,

Friend trying to act as their attorney 

On May 13, 2011, at 12:04 PM,Husband wrote:

My question is…Are you a family counselor or lawyer?? If you’re a lawyer then why are you trying to counsel the issues?

From: Husband 

 Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 10:01 AM

From: Friend acting ast their attorney for free

 Cc: Husband’s New Wife 

 Subject: Re: The Kids 

 From our phone conversation, I gather you think my only goal is to be right. Speaking with you has shown me your bias on the subject. I know you want to help and to resolve the current issue. But not being up to speed on the history and reality of all the past issues isn’t helping us move forward. When you speak in generalities like “water under the bridge”, this shows me you only want to sweep the issues under the carpet. Is this what you think after reading the communication emails between the two families? Was the letter below written in such a way that deems me to only wanting to be right? Or is to help shed some light on my daughter’s feelings when she feels hurt.

 Regards,

 Husband

From: Friend acting as the attorney 

To: Husband 

Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 10:15:44 AM

Subject: RE: The kids 

I do not think your only goal is to be right. Your stated goal in your email is to be an advocate for your kids, which I respect. I am sorry that you think I am biased, but there is nothing I can do about that. I am your ex-wife’s attorney so I am most definitely on her side.  However, I strive to be objective about my cases. I will review all of the communications on the website and be back in contact. I agree that history is important in understanding the present. But I also think that we should try to focus on the present issues and not allow past disputes to get in the way of future cooperation and agreement.

In the mean time, please provide me a list of issues you would like to get resolved so that we can move forward. No hurry. Just want you thinking about this.

On May 13, 2011, at 1:38 PM, Husband wrote:

Mediation is different from hiring an attorney and appearing before a judge. The mediator is supposed to be neutral and does not represent either party. Further, the mediator does not make any judgment or decisions, he simply identifies the points of disagreement. That way the parties can concentrate on fixing only the parts that are broken.

I thank and respect you for your efforts, but I really don’t see you playing a neutral role in these family issues. Especially since you have been long time friends with my ex, her husband and your practice has nothing to do with family mediation or family law. Your statement below ” I am her attorney so I am most definitely on her side.” proves that you are biased and NOT neutral. 

Thank you for your time. I’m not comfortable nor do I trust working with you on these family matters because of the position you’ve expressed. I’d like a neutral mediator instead.

Kind regards,

Husband

Your website’s stated practice areas: No Family law and no mediation

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From: Husband

Subject: Alleged suffering of your client.

To: Friend acting as their attorney for free

Cc: Husband’s Ex-Wife, Husband’s Ex-Wife’s New Husband, Husband’s New Wife

Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 5:03 PM

I would also request that you provide me with the emails that caused your client the alleged suffering. 

Regards,

Husband

On May 13, 2011, at 5:53 PM, Friend acting as their attorney for free wrote:

I thought I had already responded to this. But did not see the response in my sent folder. But with 11 emails from you today alone, my head is spinning.  But here goes again. 

I am not going there. Although with your barrage of emails to me today, I am starting to get a very good understanding of the suffering my client has had to endure. Why don’t you sleep on things and email me on Monday.

From: Husband

To:Friend acting as their attorney for free

Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 6:07:31 PM

Subject: Re: Alleged suffering of your client.

Friend acting like their attorney for free-

The 11 emails were in direct response to your emails. It goes both ways. I feel as though your barrage of emails have been very evasive and deflecting what the real issue is here. The root cause why your client is alleging suffering. Like I’ve stated in past emails. I’m open to speaking to the reason you have been retained and am willing to resolve talk about these alleged suffering of your client. 

Thank you

Jonathan 

From: Friend acting as their attorney for free>

Date: May 17, 2011 5:58:49 PM PDT

To: Husband

Subject: List of Issues to be Resolved

Husband,

As promised, I have compiled an initial list of issues my client would like to resolve with you.  This list follows my review of the custody agreement between you and my client that was filed with the court:

1.            We would like to update the custody agreement/order so that your daughter’s time with you and my client comports with reality.  I understand she is with each parent alternative weeks.  This is not provided for in the agreement/order but is being done by agreement.  For clarity, we would like to formalize this arrangement so that it is clear and agreed upon.

2.            We would like to update the custody agreement/order so your son’s time with you and my client comports with reality.  Given that he is now 16, we believe that his wishes must be taken into account as to the amount of time he resides with each parent and believe that this should also be clarified in the agreement.  We also want confirmation (per your prior communications) that you are not and will not seek any support payments from my client for the additional time he is in your home.  

3.           We would like update the vacation schedule in the following respects:

a.             Although the custody agreement/order does not require your consent for my client to take the children on summer holidays in Europe, we are seeking your agreement to this in the spirit of cooperation.   Assuming this is agreeable, my client would like to have the ability to take the children to Europe for up to month subject to you agreeing upon that 30 day period does not impede on you summer vacation plans.    

b.      Currently, you only have 1 one week with the children during the summer recess under the agreement/order.  My client is willing formalize an agreement  allowing you equal time during the summer vacation assuming you agreeable and assuming you are willing to agree to (a).   

c.       Currently, the children spend each Thanksgiving with you.  My client, who is now American and better understands the importance of this holiday, would like custody to alternate as the other holidays do.

4.       We would like compliance with the portions of the agreement and order dealing with parental involvement and notification regarding activities, meeting with teachers, education professionals, doctors, and the like.  For example, we recently learned that when you enrolled your son at La Jolla High, you neglected to provide my client’s contact information.  We view this as a violation and would like your promise that it will not be repeated.

5.   My client is concerned about her daughter’s emotional wellbeing.  As such she would like your agreement seek psychological counseling for her with someone who will accept Medical as private counseling is too expensive. 

6.  The custody agreement provides that my client is employed and is providing insurance for the children.  We believe this was an error and, in any event, is no longer the case.  I understand the children are currently covered through Medical, and that coverage will end in December of 2011.  We would like to amend the agreement that you and my client will share the costs of health insurance after that time.

7.  All communications with my client regarding scheduling, pickup, drop off, notification of activities/meeting/appointments, should occur via email or text to Aurelia.  Any non-emergency communications about the children, including but limited to, complaints about my client or her husband’s parenting styles or your non-emergency concerns over the children’s wellbeing are to be communicated to me via email or letter, which I will promptly respond to. As to emergency communications, you may use any method of your choosing without restriction.

Please give the above  requests consideration and respond at your earliest convenience. As I previously requested, feel free to add any issues you wish to resolve then or at a later time should you wish.  Please communicate with me directly.

At the end of the process I would like to prepare an amended agreement to be executed by all parties and submitted to the court.

Thank you for your attention to the above.

Friend acting as their attorney for free

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