One of my favorite questions in an initial meeting with a potential Mississippi family law client is this: “If I could give you a magic wand and you could waive it and make a wish, what would it be?” I get all kinds of interesting answers. Some are realistic, and some are not.
So what would you wish for with a magic wand? What are your goals? More importantly, why do you have these goals? Now is the time to be defining your expectations and how we can help you achieve them. Don’t you think that your lawyer needs to know exactly what he or she is being employed to do from the very beginning? That’s why the lawyers at R+A define goals and make a plan to accomplish those goals in every initial meeting. Spend some time thinking and praying about achievable goals.
Maybe your objective is to be divorced, to be in the best possible financial situation, and for your children to be safe, happy and properly supported. That is a very reasonable plan. What is not reasonable is for you to think that your “new normal” is going to be exactly the same. The old way was not that great anyway, right? If you are divorced, your kids are not going to be with you all the time. That is just the way it will be. While married, you would have loved for your spouse to have one-on-one time with the kids so that you could find yourself again for a little while, right? Also from a financial standpoint, two people living apart are not going to have the same lifestyle they enjoyed while living together. Unless you have more money than you know what to do with, things are going to be different money-wise after a divorce. Two people can live together as man and wife more efficiently than they can live on their own. It is a fact. It is also a fact that you will adjust. We humans are survivors and adapters. God made us that way.
You think it is fair for you to have full custody of your children and for your spouse to have standard visitation. Why? How is this going to serve your children’s best interest? Let me fill you in on a little secret- Mississippi chancellors don’t really care what you think is fair, but they do care about what is best for your children. Our law calls them the “super guardian” of the children in their jurisdiction. Because of this, you need to articulate your goals through a selfless examination of what circumstances will put your children in the best possible position to achieve their potential. I know you are hurt right now, but when it is said and done, your kids need two parents that love them and care for them. God designed moms and dads to have different sets of skills to raise well rounded children. A child that does not have a mother and a father pouring into their life is going to have little bits and pieces of their personality that do not fully develop. Think about these things when you waive your magic wand.
If you are facing a divorce in Mississippi or a situation where you will not be living with your child’s other parent, mentally pick up your magic wand and think about your realistic goals and how you are going to achieve them. When you define these goals, set aside your idea of what you think you want and take an honest inventory of your situation, your available resources and what is truly going to be best for your kids.
Craig Robertson is a family law attorney practicing throughout Mississippi.