Dealing With Narcissism In Divorce (Ep. 21)

Are you co-parenting with someone you believe has narcissistic tendencies? Or perhaps starting a divorce and want to bring up possible narcissism in the other party? 

Justin Sisemore and Andrea Jones explore how a diagnosis of narcissism can influence a divorce or co-parenting strategies – especially an early diagnosis. The break down the difference between a true narcissist and someone who just has narcissistic tendencies, stressing the importance of recognizing triggers and establishing boundaries when dealing with these individuals.

Justin and Andrea discuss:

  • What is the difference between a narcissist and someone with narcissistic tendencies
  • What tactics do narcissists use in family law matters 
  • What are effective ways to deal with a narcissist in legal proceedings
  • Why is it important to focus on internal factors, such as setting boundaries, rather than trying to change the narcissist
  • And more!

Connect with Justin Sisemore

Connect with Andrea Jones:

Read the Show Transcript

Announcer 1 [00:00:00] Nobody wants to end up in family court, but if you do, you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side to help minimize the stress, mental anguish and legal costs that divorce and custody matters bring. Welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur Justin Sisemore of the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, freelance writer Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters, the changing landscape of family law, and living the entrepreneur’s life.[00:00:36] Now onto the show. 

Announcer 2 – Most parents try to make the holiday special for their kids when sharing co-parenting duties with an ex. Now that doesn’t mean holiday co-parenting doesn’t pose challenges. From different holiday traditions, to holiday vacations, to the custody schedules that bind them, co-parents need to be proactive to ensure the holidays run smoothly.[00:00:59] In today’s [00:01:00] edition of In Your Best Interest, the panel will share tips for holiday co-parenting before, during, and after custody orders are put in place.

Mary – Thanks for joining us for this episode of In Your Best Interest. I’m Mary Maloney, and today, attorney Justin Sisemore, entrepreneur Andrea Jones, and I will discuss what steps parents can take to avoid the pitfalls of holiday co-parenting.[00:01:24] So Justin, for parents, um, to get started here, for parents who haven’t finalized a custody schedule, can you talk a little bit about what generally goes into those temporary orders and kind of how holidays are set up for the short term and then eventually in final orders? 

Justin – When you’re, when you’re looking at a holiday schedule, um, or any, any form of temporary orders or final orders, they, they generally kind of all, uh, go together.[00:01:50] And, and what we generally see, if you look up or Google, uh, what we now call a standard possession schedule, it used to be called an expanded standards [00:02:00] possession schedule, which is your first, third, and fifth, uh, weekends. If you look at a calendar month and you look at the first Friday of the month, the third Friday of the month and the fifth Friday of the month[00:02:10] um, that’s how you come up with, uh, the weekend schedule. And that goes from Thursday at the time school dismisses until Monday morning, generally now. So when we used to refer to that as the expanded standard schedule, uh, now that is the standard schedule. And then on the second and fourth weeks, you’d have the Thursday overnights. [00:02:29] You also have 28 days in the summer pursuant to the schedule separated by a weekend. You have alternating Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays. Uh, spring break and fall break, um, and then you have weekends that are extended by the holiday. That’s kind of a lot to unpack. Um, and you know, there, there are apps out there and there are calendars out there that can help you, uh, with that, that some of them come free of charge that you can kind of look up that and play with it. [00:02:53] But I certainly would encourage anybody that’s about to go through a custody schedule, uh, to [00:03:00] familiarize themselves with what that can look like, because when you first read it on paper, if you hear expanded standard or standard schedule, it just sounds very generic. But when you start to look at kids schedules, as far as activities and whatnot that can really mix, mix up the, uh, environment for the kids. [00:03:17] If you don’t really think through that um, and keep in mind, the courts have a, I don’t want to call it a requirement, but there is a presumption that that is in the best interest of the children. What that means effectively is that if you don’t show by clear and convincing evidence a need for a deviation of that schedule or a change, um, then the court is never going to be subject to abusive discretion on appeal, uh, for following that schedule. [00:03:48] When it comes to the holidays, um, you know, you’ve got like the thing, like I said, the Thanksgiving, the Christmas is alternate. For example, one parent that has the Thanksgiving holiday, the other parent would have at the time of the school [00:04:00] dismisses until the 28th, uh, for the Christmas holiday and then they would alternate. [00:04:05] Right. Even in an odd years and you can, you’re going to see a provision in any custody order that says the parties can exchange the children or child at all times mutually agreeable between the parties. Uh, but oftentimes that becomes a little bit problematic when people are suing each other. So, you know, it’s really important, uh, to go through those temporary orders, get that right. [00:04:25] Um, and then really think about those possession schedules, um, and not get too off script with those. And we can talk about that in a bit.

Mary – So yeah. So when you’re putting those, um, you’re finalizing that your co-parenting schedules and your holiday schedules, they’re, they’re not cut in, cut in stone before you actually get them on paper. [00:04:46] So what are some considerations parents should keep in mind when they’re getting prepared to finalize those schedules because there’s different holiday traditions and things like that. Can you speak to that a little bit? 

Justin – Sure. Um, you know, you, you deal with [00:05:00] issues like, you know, traditions, um, your spiritual background, um, you know, different, different people celebrate in different ways, obviously. [00:05:08] And I like to fundamentally talk about traditions, right? If you’ve, if you, if your kids have known a tradition at your in-laws house and y’all go somewhere for Thanksgiving, um, and then all of a sudden you split and you say, well, no, now Thanksgiving is this big deal um, I think it’s really important to use that kind of do right rule for philosophy when you’re dealing with, holidays that aren’t necessarily something that are a big deal to you, because you can really use those as leverage points and I hate to say leverage points, but let’s be real. [00:05:38] When you’re, when you’re asking for something in exchange for something, it’s called a leverage point, right? And so if, if you know that one party, it’s very important to them that Easter or 4th of July or, or something like that is, is a big deal, you can use those to negotiate other things that will become a big deal to you. [00:05:56] And that’s why I use the word leverage point. And so, you know, [00:06:00] Christmas, for example, you know, my, my wife and I, we, we have a tradition where we, we have, uh, four Christmases at least, maybe six, I don’t even know, because we have, we come from all blended families. And so, you know, we go over to a step mom’s house and other step moms house, my mom’s house, dad’s house [00:06:18] uh, back to stepdad’s house, and so you can see, even with my three kids, we’re still, and we’ve got our tradition in the morning. So we’ve, we’ve tried to come up with this schedule that really accommodates all the family members when you live in close proximity. And it’s very doable. Right. If you just bury the whole, I’m mad at you thing, it’s a very doable thing. [00:06:38] And it’s actually awesome. And my brother in-law’s, uh, you know, his house is my favorite because he’s last. And so we end up over there, but you know, when you, when you go through this and you look at it on paper, it looks really stressful. Wait a minute, you’re going to pop from this house to that house [00:06:53] and then this house and that house, and it’s on paper, you know, you, you got to really think through that. And that didn’t [00:07:00] happen because of some custody order, by the way. My, my wife’s dad and ex-wife get along very well. Step mom gets along very well. They’re all, it’s just a bonus family. Right. [00:07:09] And the beauty of a bonus family is the freaking kids love it. They go to, they go to all these different houses. They have 85 Christmases. They bring all their stuff, all of these other places. And you know, we didn’t growing up, we didn’t have like all these traditional holiday things. Now we got better at that as we got a little bit older. [00:07:26] Um, you know, and we had a little bit more consistency with that, but, you know, it was, it was really nice once there was consistency of holidays. And I think that parents that overlook the schedule and the consistency for the kid’s sake, they’re really doing a disservice. And so I would encourage parties to really think what their family unit does and has done number one, and then number two, I would also discourage people from getting locked into this. [00:07:52] Well, we must have Christmas day because it’s Christmas day, right? Um, you know, there’s, there’s a thousand different ways to [00:08:00] celebrate these events. Um, and I think you need to be flexible and given consideration for, you know, these traditions that these most importantly, the traditions. So if you’re, if you’re not the type that really, you know, has some fundamental tradition, maybe you’re the travel type, or maybe you just, you know, want to go take a trip every other year or whatever the case may be, don’t lock into, I must have Christmas day. [00:08:23] Because you can really move, um, mountains with some of these holidays that may not be that important to you. 

Mary – So Andrea, I’d love for you to weigh in on this too, because you’ve gone through it. Can you talk about some lessons you learned from co-parenting over the holidays after your divorce? 

Andrea – Yeah, sure. [00:08:40] I mean, what, what Justin said is so true to stick to something that is cool for the kids. Oftentimes when you don’t get along with your ex, which I didn’t, um, it makes it very hard to do the best, to do what’s best for the kids. So for example, I’m from Germany. Our Christmas is Christmas Eve. So I would have loved to spend Christmas Eve with my kids every year because Christmas [00:09:00] morning really is not a thing for me and I’m big on keeping traditions like we have in Germany. [00:09:05] There are certain other, Nikolaus for example, where the kids wake up and there’s a little boot outside the door which is whatever the 6th of December. Those things meant a lot to the kids when they were little and those things were taken away because the ex was not willing to do that. And again, like I said before, take yourself out of the equation and look at the kids. [00:09:22] What is also important to the kids, if they grew up a certain way and have certain traditions, don’t rip them underneath them and say, okay, we don’t care about Christmas Eve anymore because now you are with me every other year and I don’t care that your mom celebrates that. So that’s not cool. And then there’s other holidays. [00:09:38] For example, Easter. Easter is not normally in the possession schedule as a holiday that you alternate. Easter is different every year. And the sad thing was, we’re a Christian, we’re a Christian household. And we, I think in the entire time had our kids for Easter twice because every, every year it fell on a different day and we couldn’t celebrate Easter with the kids, which was [00:10:00] sad because growing up little, we have some German traditions there too that we couldn’t do because the ex-husband was not willing to do that. [00:10:07] Don’t be mean to the, to your ex. There’s a lot of, there are a lot of feelings involved towards your ex, but think about the kids. The kids love those traditions and, and I agree, I agree, I agree with Justin. It’s hard to make that agreement with the ex directly. Because then there’s the give and take. It’s better if it’s in the order. [00:10:26] So tell your, tell your attorney what is important to you and which dates are important to you. I mean, some people I know, they, they celebrate Halloween. It’s a big deal for them. Doesn’t mean anything to me. So that would have been easily one thing that I could have given away instead. Like, go take the kids, uh, trick or treat [00:10:41] I don’t care. But then Christmas Eve was important to me. So look at what’s important to you, what’s important to your family. your family and friends, and then base the possession schedule on that. I think that’s the best way to do it, but put it in the possession schedule if it’s important to you, because trying to find that agreement later, the, he or she gets mad about [00:11:00] something else, and then you still don’t have it. [00:11:01] It’s better to have it in there, but it’s not, and, and the other thing, it’s not easy to give up traditions. If you’ve been married for awhile and have a kid that is 12 years old, it’s hard to make a change. But again, think about the kids. What is most important for the kids? And that’s what you should do. 

Mary – For sure. Um, so next, um, Justin, even if you have a holiday schedule in place, sometimes like special events come up, like say a parent wants to take their kids and they have like a blended family. [00:11:32] They want to take everybody on a, you know, lovely vacation to Hawaii or to Aspen or something for Christmas. But it’ the other parties turn to have them on a certain date. So how do you kind of navigate around those situations? You want to do something great for your kids, but technically you don’t, it’s not your time to have them. [00:11:51] So how do you kind of work those special events out? 

Justin – One of the things that parents must remember, and this is [00:12:00] really, really important. Do not schedule something for your children during the other parent’s time ever, ever, ever, and never, never do that by saying, hey child, I want to take you to Disney world or Aspen. [00:12:16] Ask your daddy or ask your mommy. I can’t tell you how many times I deal with this issue. It’s not right to put your child in the middle. It’s not right to take the other parent’s time without getting a cooperative agreement. So I want to unpack that just a little bit. It’s very self explanatory. [00:12:33] If you, if you are the type that never agrees to anything, and you’re going to consistently use, uh, your custody agreement as a sword and a shield and, um, weaponize the agreement, you will must marry the times that are set out in the agreement. Uh, there will be no give and take. Uh, there will be no push pull. [00:12:54] And if you take and you schedule during the other parent’s time the courts, the courts [00:13:00] are pretty keen on to that, that that’s a form of parental alienation. And I know that sounds extreme, but when you tell a child and get a child all excited and say, Hey, we’re going to go to Disneyland. And we had this happen this last spring break. [00:13:10] And I really came unglued at this party on the stand. Because it was a, it was a history and pattern of alienation. And this one thing, uh, you know, she was so dismissive about, uh, the idea that it was just Disneyland and dad was just not understanding that this was the trip of a lifetime and all these things, I understand it’s a trip of a lifetime. [00:13:33] And it may well be, but you also have court orders to follow and you have to have consistency with those court orders. And in that situation, this child, it took almost five or six months to get the child back to a sense of normalcy because of the disruption. Something as simple, um, as that trip. Um, was, and you can imagine, you know, I mean, the, the mom comes back and she’s got all the pictures of, of the other siblings, which is in and of itself [00:14:00] wrong. [00:14:00] And then, you know, she’s saying, well, your dad wouldn’t let you go. And, you know, I’m sorry. And all this just crap. And, you know, if, if you want to behave that way and act that way and then make the lawyers at fault, um, again, you know, we’re not the right fit for you. I just, I really want to stress the importance of. [00:14:20] You know, co co parenting cooperating with the other party, if at all possible. And then the idea here that, it’s, it’s great to have these trips planned, but you know, some parties can’t afford the trip, right? The other, the other parent may not have the financial resources that one of them does. [00:14:35] And so when you make your, your, your parent, one parent, truly Disneyland parent, and then the other parent may just have a camp out or something, you know, around the house available for them, it’s not right to do that. And so truly. Cooperating, truly co parenting and having conversations about these things well in advance and never discussing with them, with the children, unless you have the agreements I like to put them in an email confirmation [00:15:00] just so that there’s itinerary shared, uh, everybody’s on board with that. [00:15:04] They know, and we have the confirmation of the agreement that way. If something goes sideways, uh, in between there, it’s very easy to say, Hey, look. Um, I had this trip planned. I know it’s your possession schedule. You agreed to it. I bought these tickets and all that stuff. Uh, you know, you may not get the court to give you the money back, you know, or those, those things, but you do that and you weaponize it. [00:15:24] Like I said, sword and shield, it can come back to bite you too. where when you, you go back on the agreement, um, you, you see courts not liking that as well. So there is, there are recourse for these things, but the problem is, you know, it costs money to go file enforcements. Uh, you be a judge for a second. [00:15:41] Uh, you know, you’re hearing family violence and all these issues that are, that are very, very challenging that courts face. And then somebody didn’t get to go to Disneyland for the weekend. Well Disneyland is not cheap. We all know that, you know, one party is out 10 grand. Right. And then, you know, so what’s the repercussions for that? [00:15:56] Well, you know, if you have agreements, um, it’s really [00:16:00] important to get those agreements in, rule 11 agreements and formal agreements and formalized situations. Um, so there are, there is recourse from a breach of contract standpoint. Um, you know, it might be a situation where, uh, there’s detrimental reliance, um, some things outside of the box that we don’t typically see in custody cases, but when that’s a trend, uh, there is recourse, um, for those kinds of actions. [00:16:24]

Andrea – I would, I would support that 100%. It’s not right for the kids and the kids are in a bad position. And that goes for any and all activities. It’s the holidays, but even scheduling and sport activities in the afternoon when it’s not your afternoon. I mean, I have seen that too. Oh, well, I wanted to let them play football. [00:16:40] So on Tuesdays, I’m just gonna take the kids to football. And if you don’t take them to football practice, you’re a bad mom. All that stuff is horrible. So anything you do that is not on your time of possession, you have to get agreement. It’s Is it maybe hard because you can’t get everything done? Yeah, but you got divorced. [00:16:55] You live in two different households and you got to do now what’s right, according to the [00:17:00] orders. Don’t schedule anything, whether it’s a weekend trip or like I said, sports or going to the movies or theaters. And, and especially don’t share that with the kids. If you have planned that until you have confirmation from the other side, because you end up being the bad person at the end, it’s horrible. [00:17:14] I said, don’t just don’t do it. 

Mary – So, so Justin, do you have any other tips for, for parents that are dealing with another party? You know, they’re dealing with animosity in this co parenting relationship. Whether, I mean, whether it’s over the holidays or just possession in general, I mean, how do you deal with another parent? [00:17:33] That’s, you know, consistently say, dropping the kids off late or not picking them up at all. Any, any tips in that area? 

Justin – So that’s probably one of the most common questions, um, that we receive and, respective schedule and time is massively important. Hey, it’s important to teach your children that these are times that we have to be there. [00:17:54] Uh, you know, I, I. get onto my kids all the time. I now set the clock like 30 minutes early. I [00:18:00] always tell them like it’s 30 minutes earlier, uh, just so they know what it feels like to be on time. And what happens is, you know, my kids, I used to have to drag them out of their bed and out of the room. And when they get to school early and they get to events early and, and they’re, they’re, I guess, decompressed you know what it’s like when you’re rushing to the airport and all that other stuff. [00:18:19] Um, and I get life happens, but what happens with a lot of people is they don’t prioritize, um, timeliness and punctuality. Um, and that, that happens in work and life and all those things. And we all know what that feels like. You’re rushed. Uh, there’s, you know, you’re unpacking everything there. [00:18:36] Communication between you and the parent, when you show up 30 minutes late, um, it’s, it creates animosity. Your child feels your stress, can sense it. Um, and then when the other party that’s been sitting there has got, you know, their, their life too, uh, they don’t exactly have a smile on their face. The child can sense that animosity. [00:18:54] So. I’m very big proponent of punctuality and I don’t, [00:19:00] I don’t like the idea that courts give this 30 minute kind of leeway as far as enforcement, but they do get very serious about some courts get very serious about that because they do understand when you explain it that way. And you show how that’s impacted the child and the parents, uh, what can happen there. [00:19:16] So the first thing is. If you’re not a timely person or you know that there’s traffic pretend that your custody, uh, exchange is 30 minutes before just set it 30 minutes before and just treat it like church and everything else, right? Uh, that’s the first thing be on time, be punctual. Be very communicative if you’re if you can’t be punctual and if it’s a situation where you’re coming across cities And there’s a lot of traffic and things like that you’ve got to consider the idea of changing exchange points and you may not have agreements on that You may have to file a lawsuit to change something as simple as where we do the pick up and drop off But pick up and drop off is a very big piece to setting the tone and pace for the custody case uh, you know, thinking through [00:20:00] that, thinking through, uh, non punitive measures about where the exchange is, you know, I want you to do it at my house just because it’s my house. [00:20:07] Well, guess what? When you’re saying that somebody is abusive and they are harassing you and blah, blah, blah, but you want them to do the exchange at your house. That may not be the best place. And, and the other thing is when you are doing an exchange and you’re like, I want it to be at the police station because that’s a public place that, and there there’s police there and I’m scared of you. [00:20:26] Well, guess what? The police aren’t sitting out there going, Oh my gosh, let me make sure that this child goes safely into your vehicle. Uh, the same can be. Do the same thing can be accomplished in McDonald’s or public places where the kids feel comfortable. So the exchange place is a big piece there. The second thing, our third thing I would say is that when you are trying to get someone to do something, okay, um, a, and I call it the wind out of the sails, Andrea, I know I’ve talked about this a number of times. [00:20:53] If you just simply ask somebody their opinion versus shoving down, uh, your opinion and [00:21:00] your accusation down their throat, right? Um, even if you’re just stating facts, I got off the phone a couple of days ago with this client and she’s like, I just stated facts. Here’s the recordings. And you know, most of the times when they come to me with recordings without me asking for them, Uh, they’re not always the best, right? [00:21:17] And so this was a very fact driven, stated recording of you’re not going to do this. And this is what’s going to happen. And this child needs this. And here’s what time he goes to bed and here’s what the medicine’s going to look like. And guess what? This is when the feeding is and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. [00:21:32] And I’m just sitting there like, I hope, I hope that we don’t have to, I hope the other party doesn’t send discovery and that we have to send this over because the judge is going to. Automatically flip this on the other party. And so the better way to do it, in my opinion, to soften the blow and not make it seem like you don’t know what you’re talking about. [00:21:52] You don’t know what you’re doing. By the way, I’m the end all be all. I’m the mom and I’ve been taking care of this child for four years. And now that the child’s five, you Disneyland [00:22:00] dad don’t know how to change a diaper, even though the child’s not wearing diapers, you know, instead of that approach, You just say, Hey, so what are your thoughts here? [00:22:08] Um, I’d like to know, um, you know, how I can do this better. We’ve talked about that with like cell phones and things like that. Do it with exchanges, do it with holidays. Hey, you know, what do you think would be the best solution for our family? Cause. You know, I want to think not right now. I want to think 10 years from now when you’re, you know, Sisemore, that’s got this beard at 42 years old and three kids running around, right. [00:22:30] What does that look like? For those exchanges. And I think when you take it out of the immediate, right. And you, you fast forward and you, you put things like weddings in your mind, having babies in your mind, grandkids in your mind, not the immediate. You can start to project in a way that says, all right, how. [00:22:49] I know that right now we’re in this turmoil with each other maybe, but how do we, how do we make this a long term plan? And when you, when you neutralize a situation like that, I feel like. [00:23:00] Um, oftentimes, and you ask the questions, oftentimes it is, it is, it is massive what happens with the transition. And on a final point on that, if it doesn’t, it’s wonderful for a custody attorney to go in and say, Hey, I asked, you know, what are your thoughts on this? [00:23:18] How can we do this exchanges? Where would this be better for your schedule? And they told me to. Go blah, blah, blah, and expletive, expletive, text message, recording, uh, our family wizard, all these things. That is a bullet for my gun that I will shoot with a freaking cannon across that courtroom. [00:23:36] 

Andrea – And I would like to add also, I would like to add also change, make yourself a calendar and put it in your phone or put it somewhere because the exchange times sometimes change. Sometimes it’s six o’clock, sometimes it’s after school, different things. And I have missed that too. So make yourself a calendar and no, you don’t. [00:23:54] You don’t have to pull out your divorce decree or your orders all the time. Make sure you know when you have to be where and don’t [00:24:00] use that excuse, Oh, I didn’t know this weekend is different. Make sure you have that. It’s very confusing when you read your order. At the beginning, very confusing, but either get your lawyer to help you to make a one piece sheet that tells you which year, which holiday is at which house, because you can easily mix it up. [00:24:16] And like I said, also the days, the time and the days where you have to exchange the kids. Very, very important. That excuse, oh, I didn’t know, doesn’t count after the third time. Make yourself, put it in your calendar. 

Mary – Yeah, definitely planning ahead. I like what both you guys said there too, is that you have to plan ahead and then you also have to think in the longterm. [00:24:33] We’ve talked about that a lot of times, Justin, that you can’t just think about today. You have to think about 10 years from now, 20 years from now when you’re going to have grandkids, you know, 

Andrea – when they go to college and all this stuff. Yeah. So you have to think ahead. You don’t think about that when your child is three, but you got to think of that.

Mary – [00:24:48] Yeah. So from a legal perspective, things can get really nasty and people are not going to follow orders per se, Justin. So what, when does it get to the point when you actually, you know, you have to go back to court and get things [00:25:00] resolved and get the other parent to comply? 

Justin – So the, the famous, uh, enforcements, the big piece there is remembering. [00:25:10] One thing, if you have an order that is poorly written because you did it yourself or you hired a bad lawyer and it was not written well that’s one piece of the enforcement. Okay, so one is analyzing whether you can actually technically enforce the order. or you need to clarify the order. Okay. So that’s the first piece [00:25:31] The second piece of the enforcement is whether you have done the prerequisite actions that are in the order. For example, the exchange place happens at 6 30 p. m. at the McDonald’s on State Street. You have to be there at 6. 30 PM at the McDonald’s on State Street at the time and place designated in the order. [00:25:50] So the when piece, uh, when should you push the gas pedal on that? I think the, the common sense answer is, look at [00:26:00] the order, make sure that it clearly says the who, what, when, where, and why, who’s supposed to do what, when they’re supposed to do it, where it’s supposed to happen, and, and basically have the ability to have the enforcement there. [00:26:13] From there, if you, if it’s clearly lined out and you know what it says, right, it’s not, this is not a legal conclusion. You can read and it says, hey, go to this place at this time and do X, right? If it says that, and you do that, and then you send it a message, hey, You know, listen, I was here at this time, the exchange did not occur, or, uh, you know, we were supposed to exchange all the equipment, uh, for the kids and, you know, the equipment stuff and the medical, uh, that becomes more challenging because, you know, when you have a 38 cent receipt for band aids and you send it over and they haven’t paid you thousands of dollars in child support, uh, you know, you want to go and get gather everything, but you’re like, well, I’m not going to send that 38 cent. [00:26:54] Uh, receipt for band aids because he never pays or she never pays, right? And so [00:27:00] parties just quit following the order up front. And then they get frustrated when the lawyer says, well, this isn’t really enforceable a because the language or B because you haven’t satisfied the prongs necessary to file the enforcement. [00:27:13] So the why generally I would say is when you are ready to truly modify something like it’s completely unworkable, I like enforcement modifications. Um, now granted, I don’t like either enforcements or modifications because what that tells me is parties are fighting, kids are in the middle and, you know, there’s not a whole lot of. [00:27:35] Pot of gold at the end of these rainbows, especially with people that don’t have deep pockets, right? When you file an enforcement, you get a judgment for attorney’s fees. It’s a piece of paper oftentimes, but when it comes with modifications, where it’s an unworkable order and you’re solving a real problem in someone’s life and more importantly, a real problem, the child’s life, that’s when I get more, uh, inspired, if you will. [00:27:58] I will say that modification and [00:28:00] enforcement cases typically have the most animosity, which means that the clients, um, you know, are genuinely dissatisfied with a lot of life decisions that are happening and that it’s real easy to turn the gun on the lawyers, the system, the courts and all that. So I think it’s very important to really sit down with, with your lawyer and figure out whether this order is modifiable because it’s truly unworkable. [00:28:25] And if that’s the case, then you push the gas pedal. 

Andrea – I can tell you even in my situation, um, Justin said when I went to Justin and we had a few things that were not going well, it was very frustrating for me, but Justin was honest enough to tell me back in the days, it’s not worth it. I mean, you’d be fighting in court, you spend a lot of money and at the end, what are you really gaining? [00:28:45] You just got to accept that he’s not going to work with you and you just got to bless and release and and just work with the situation because it was not, not a materialistic change or not, not important enough to really go to court, even though it’s frustrating. So I think that’s why it’s so [00:29:00] important to do a consultation, talk to a lawyer and see before you spend thousands of dollars, rather spend a little bit for a consultation and see. [00:29:07] Whether it’s even worth to invest the time and the money. And again, if you have somebody on the other side, who’s not cooperating, they talk to the kids, they talk trash to the kids about you, mommy or daddy is dragging me to court again and see what I have to do and all this other stuff, is it really worth it for what you’re gaining at the end? [00:29:22] So talk to your lawyer. 

Justin – Yeah. And I want to clarify one thing. The system is not rigged. The courts do enforce orders. Uh, there are great lawyers that actually care about people. Um, there are, you know, wonderful judges that do great things for children and for the community. Is it a perfect system? [00:29:41] Absolutely not. I had a client call last week, our potential client. He, he wanted to tell me exactly how, uh, I should practice law and how the court systems are and what goes on. Um, needless to say, there is no way in God’s green earth we would ever take that client or that case. Um, [00:30:00] and, and that, the sad part is a lot of what we do is navigational skills, right? [00:30:06] And that’s, that, that is why we do this. It’s not to punish and it’s not to go be beat our chest and be the bulldog lawyers, um, that I think so many people believe that I am. Right. Um, what makes me a bulldog, if that is even a thing is the fact that I, I give a damn and I care how these courts, uh, function with these kids. [00:30:27] And it’s not a sales pitch. If you’re just up there being real and you’re giving real relief and it matches the actions and conduct, you know, it’s very. easy to be persuasive. And that involves the client. And I just finished up a huge case where we switched custody out of state in a very massive way. [00:30:46] And I, that client was patient. She was, she called all the time and needed things all the time. And it was okay because she was pleasant. But when you, when you need things and you demand things and you’re not pleasant to staff and people [00:31:00] around you, um, it, it shines through in every area of your character and you cannot Prevail generally in a custody case when you are that kind of human. [00:31:09] So you’ve got to do some internal reflection before you go down this war path in my opinion. 

Mary – Well, that’s, that’s a great point and a great place to wrap up unless you guys have any other additional comments. So all right, you guys, if you’d like to contact the Sisemore Law Firm, you can call 817 336 4444 or visit lawyerdfw.[00:31:32] com. We also invite you to follow the podcast and share it with friends who might find it helpful. 

Announcer – Thanks again for listening in and have a great day. Thank you for listening to In Your Best Interest with Texas Divorce Attorney and entrepreneur Justin Sisemore. The content presented here is provided for information only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. [00:31:54] Click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available.[00:32:00]