In 1994, in Cass County, Minnesota, now retired Judge Michael Haas had very blunt words for the divorcing parents appearing before him. It was later published as part of Ann Landers’s advice column in 2001, and has been cited in numerous publications and appellate decisions. Judge Haas’ advice to the parents standing before him, embroiled in a custody dispute, was this:
“Your children have come into this world because of the two of you. Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent. If so, that is your problem and your fault.
No matter what you think of the other party—or what your family thinks of the other party—these children are one-half of each of you. Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an “idiot” his father is, or what a “fool” his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child half of him is bad.
That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child. That is not love. That is possession. If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them into pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.
I sincerely hope that you do not do that to your children. Think more about your children and less about yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or your children will suffer.”
Charlotte divorce attorneys at Miller Bowles Cushing are here to walk you through the process of an amicable separation, divorce, and child custody case.