What do the Super Bowl & Family Law Have in Common?

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs played Super Bowl LIV on February 2.  That game came after many arduous hours of training and studying, 4 preseason games, 16 regular season games, and at least 2 playoff games for each team.   It reflects a lot of preparation, a lot of work, a lot of managed stress.  Time has been spent preparing physically, mentally, and emotionally to get there.  Investments have been made to reap a return.  Each player’s body has been pushed strenuously, and some injuries have occurred.  Relationships may have been strained or lost.  Family and friends might have been put in the background.  Social life may have been ignored.

Going to the Super Bowl sounds like an exciting finality, but it means giving up some things to gain something really big.  And there is still a final decision to be made.

This process of getting to the Super Bowl parallels the process that a party works through in a child support, child custody or visitation, divorce, and any other family law case.  Each party is working to get to their “Super Bowl” to reach a final decision such as the support that’s needed for a child, the custody that’s in the best interest of the child, or the dissolution of a marriage that is irretrievably broken

In order to get to their “Super Bowl” there are some things that a party has to give.  There is preparation involved to begin and move forward in the process.  Time and money has to be invested by a party.  Personal time is used to prepare, review and compile documents. Parties must communicate with their attorney, and they may need to meet with a parenting evaluator or family counselor.  Costs of filing, of professionals, of transcripts, and of legal representation can be part of the investment in the process.  There can be physical, mental, and emotional strains on a party.  Hurt feelings and other injuries can occur.   Family and friends can be affected through this process and some relationships can be lost.  There may be rearranging of social and work schedules so that parenting courses can be taken, depositions and preliminary hearings can be attended, and mediation can be participated in.

Each party will need to give up some things to go for something that is really big.  The goal is to get to a hearing or an agreement.  A final decision will need to be made.

Not every team that makes it to the Super Bowl does this by winning every game along the way.  Just a look at this season for the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will attest to this.  Losses were made along the way, but those losses didn’t stop the teams from continuing to do what they needed to do when it mattered.  They continued on.

Parties in a family law matter must have the same resolve to get to their “Super Bowl”.  There may be a temporary loss.  There may be a compromise that is made along the way that a party sees as a loss.  Yet, they cannot lose sight of their goal to keep doing what is needed to move towards a final decision.  There’s a mentality that has to be maintained, a mentality of “We’re going to the Super Bowl!”.  Once there, you continue to do your best and strive for a “Super Bowl” decision in your favor.

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