If there is one thing I have learned in almost 30 years of family law practice, it is that children are the constant victims of divorce and other family court disputes. Whether the divorce is amicable or whether the parents engage in a brutal battle over custody and parenting time, I am willing to bet that most children of divorce, if granted one wish, would use it to keep their families intact.
Although I always try to practice law with the best interests of children in mind, as a family law attorney, I recognize that I am part of that tidal wave that washes over the safety and security of my clients’ children. Like all the other adults in the child’s life, I am making recommendations and taking actions that will impact the child – for better or worse – and usually, the child has little or no say in the decisions that will change everything for him/her. Children are truly powerless. This truth was driven home to me recently when one of my custody clients committed suicide in apparent response to the trial court’s decision to “split the baby” (i.e., there was no clear winner in a long, drawn out, financially and emotionally devastating custody battle). This wonderful but depressed and overwhelmed father left a four year old and a six year old son to grapple with the loss.
With these thoughts in mind – and in particular at this time when there has been so much senseless violence against children (Sandyhook Elementary School comes to mind) I would like to engage in an act that will help to bring healing to children. I have therefore decided to commit the first $100 of every retainer I receive from each new client to support local children’s charities. The two charities I have selected each represent a particular focus on the well-being of children. They are:
CARE HOUSE. Care House is an agency devoted to protecting children in our community. By providing prevention, intervention and treatment services to victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect, the organization’s websites cites that fact that it makes a difference in the lives of more than 1,500 children and their families each year. All of its programs and many community collaborations take place in Pontiac-based CARE HOUSE.
SANDCASTLES provides a caring place for children, teens and their families who have experienced a death, to share their loss and journey through grief in a safe and supportive environment. SandCastles offers grief support groups, an annual weekend camp and community education and awareness.
I encourage all my clients, potential clients and certainly all of my family law colleagues to find a tangible way to give back to the community and help secure good lives for the children who will grow up one day and inherit our legacy.