Replied By: voltaicbelle on Mar 15, 2013, 12:30PM - In reply to quiltgoddess
It's one thing to have experience as a professional in the court system, and it's quite another to experience it as a party to a child custody battle - especially a bitter, contentious battle.

My husband and I spent over $60k in attorney fees, court costs, travel expenses, guardian ad litems, etc over a decade.  EVERY time we went before a judge, he or she chastised his ex for kidnapping the kids, hiding them, parental alienation and many other horrible parenting choices.  We were given full custody of the children, but somehow we still ended up paying full child support.  She never paid us a dime - Which, even though we lived paycheck to paycheck, was okay with us since we knew the children were safe and secure with us.  But still, grossly unfair that she was never held responsible for any of her horrific actions.  She filed false abuse charges on us, called CPS on us (my husband and I are both teachers, so this was not only ridiculous, but dangerous to our careers to just have a report, even false, on our record).

The family court system is completely out of whack.  It seems as though the bad guy usually prevails - in most situations I'm familiar with - I am not exactly sure how that happens so often.  I have been a moderator on any  number of popular stepmom support websites and a frightening number of unfair and unjust rulings are made on a regular basis.  I have one online stepmom friend who has an ex who killed their family cat, left it in a box on their front porch for the kids to find, the son has threatened to kill himself if he ever has to go back with her, but yet the court still orders that he spend time with her.  This ex has been to jail many times for harassment, but still gets the right to be a parent.  This is just one of many examples of how our family court system is unfair.  

The ONE aspect I am in agreement about with Dr. Phil, it is keep the court out of your custody agreement. Use a mediator and no attorneys - as soon as you get two different attorneys involved, the fighting never stops.