Put Your Child Ahead of Your Feelings
Video Transcribed: So let’s talk about a concept with family litigation that I would refer to as mutually assured destruction. My name is Brian L. Jackson, I am a Tulsa fathers rights attorney here at Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable. Today we’re going to talk about the idea of mutually assured destruction in the context of family court.
This is a problem that can come up when you have a set of bad facts that are equally bad for both parents. Say one parent engaged in some conduct that was potentially dangerous to the child or children, and the other parent sat on their hands and didn’t do anything about it. That’s a classic example you see.
What that can do is if that goes to court, the judge may look at one parent and say, “Well, what you did was really, really bad, and that makes you an unsuitable placement.” And then they could look at the other parent and say, “You sat on your hands and did nothing until later on, and for this reason, you’re not a suitable placement either because you don’t protect the child.” And the result is that the court ends up calling DHS and potentially initiating deprived proceedings. That’s what I mean when I say mutually assured destruction.
One thing to be aware of with courtroom proceedings is just because you weren’t personally the one that was engaged in the bad behavior, if you’re aware of it for a period of time and do nothing, it can create one of two situations.
Either it’s going to convince the court that the situation isn’t really that bad, or it’s going to convince the court the situation really is that bad and both of you suck. And either way, it can easily result in a result that nobody’s going to like. And that’s what I mean when I say mutually assured destruction.
The term originates from the cold war. It was the idea that both powers, that is the US and the Soviet Union, both had sufficient nuclear arms to destroy one another.
And that’s what I’m talking about here is where you each have enough dirt on the other one to destroy the other person in court, make them look really, really bad, cause a court to second guess whether or not they’re an appropriate placement for a child, or worse, that whether or not they should even be allowed unsupervised contact with the child.
If you both destroy each other in court, what you get is an outcome no one’s going to like, because that’s where the court might decide to involve state child welfare. And that can and does happen. What you should do in a mutually assured destruction situation is if both parents are presently in a position where they can care for the children, then they need to figure out a way to work it out so that it doesn’t end up in front of a judge.
That’s a situation to work hard to settle on terms everyone can live with, because if you present facts where one side can destroy the other side, the risk is that the court comes back with a ruling nobody likes, and nobody wins. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about proving you’re right. It’s about what’s best for the child.
And if you’re in a situation where you both make each other look really bad, the court may find that what’s best for the child is to go and put the child into DHS custody. So that’s something to be aware of. And when you are looking at facts that are unfavorable about the other party, you really also need to be thinking in terms of, “What did I do about it?” Because if you sat on your hands and did nothing, you are a problem, too.
My name is Brian L. Jackson. Again, I’m an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney here with dads.law. And if you have any questions at all, I would encourage you to go to dads.law and we’d be happy to help you out.