When I was a child my mother worked for the court system. During my summer vacations, I would spend days sitting in on court cases. I learned a lot during those visits about how the court system works, how to effectively present a case, what makes a good attorney and how judges view the different parties in cases based on their behaviors.
At the age of sixteen, I decided that when I grew up that I wanted to become a Deputy Sheriff. However, that dream got put on hold. When I was twenty-one, I got married and had my first child. I decided that my children where going to be my career and I became a stay at home mom.
Although there were happy times in my marriage, as the years progressed, I felt unable to communicate my true feelings and thoughts to my husband. In the end, I was isolated and I decided to return to the work outside of our home.
In 2004, I got a job working as a civilian clerk in our local county jail and within months of starting, I separated from my children’s father. I filed for divorce in March of the following year. Like most divorces, our initial settlement was amicable.
It was in the years that followed that my relationship with my former husband deteriorated. While my relationship and ability to effectively co-parent floundered, my career advanced and I eventually became a Deputy Sheriff in the same jail.
Since my divorce, I have had to appear in court several times. There have been pages of motions filed, and I have paid thousands of dollars in legal fees, but we were finally able to settle our case in 2013. I credit my training and the experience that I gained working in law enforcement with helping me overcome the obstacles in my case.
I faced the real threat of losing my children, but I wasn’t willing to stop fighting to have them be a part of my daily life. So, I educated myself not only on the family court system, but also on how to parent effectively during all the chaos that my divorce and subsequent custody case.
From both my formal law enforcement training and the knowledge that I gained through my own research and self education, I learned the value of removing emotion from my communications with my former husband. I started treating our interactions as if we where colleagues. The change in the way that I approached working together helped me become a professional co-parent so that my children’s needs were met in a respectful way.
In the end, I have been able to maintain a healthy and positive relationship with my children and I use a combination of everything that I have learned along the way to help others who face similar situations.
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