Sunday night not only brought us the news of 1,000 deaths in New York but US officials discussing potential death numbers as high as the number killed in the US civil war. My partner Rhonda Ores from New York posted a brief essay by the trial judge responsible for coordinating custody matters in a state with 60,000 cases. The words come from NY Supreme Court Judge Jeffrey Sunshine.
“How [parents] conduct themselves … during a time of a pandemic crisis, one of which we have never before seen, will shape their relationship with each other as divorced parents in the future, the relationship they have with their children and most importantly the relationship that their children have with them. As adults, we are all frightened over the events of the past few weeks and the uncertainty of the future. Through the eyes of a child, their world turned upside down—their school disrupted and social interactions with friends now almost impossible. One of the only things that should and can bring comfort to a child are parents cooperating. Not only is it the best interest of the child—the time-honored standard—it is the best interest in their divorce and their relationship to come. These events will have a lasting impact. For the last generation, it was the Great Depression and World War II; for my generation, it was the assassination of President Kennedy; for my children it was 9/11; and for the generation of children today, it is the events that now surround us. Let them have fond memories of how parents conducted themselves. If parents do not conduct themselves appropriately and sensibly, their children will remember throughout their lives how they acted and so will the judge deciding the case. I listen carefully and remember the children who have spoken to me during the hundreds of in-camera interviews I have done in the past 21 years. I hope over the next few years children will be telling me how positively their parents behaved to make sure they were safe, allowed access by technology if illness or the risks of travel prevented access, and that both of their parents put their differences aside and they did it for me.”
If your clients are not listening to you and think they are not accountable for their conduct, might I suggest you send this to them.
Amen. Stay well and show your loved ones leadership in this hour of crisis.