Lyndsey: Week Eight of Being a Legal Assistant

Something that is crazy to me is the dedication of some Utah courts to try to force minor children to have relationships with one or both parents. This is all according to my own perspective and based on my personal experience of being a legal assistant for seven weeks… so I haven’t had a ton of experience, but here is what I’ve observed to this point.

It is my opinion, in my experience in life, that sometime it’s better to keep certain family members at a distance if you don’t get along with them or if you have a contentious relationship with them. It’s perfectly fine to love difficult people with a degree of detachment. You don’t need to allow toxic people to taint your life just because they are family. I do not believe that blood is always thicker than water. Sometimes friends are more of a family than your family ever is or ever will be.

Sometimes, you need space from your family members. Especially sometimes when you are a child of divorce and you have an estranged relationship with one or both parents and/or with other family members. Then, even without meaning to, these children often feel they have to pick sides between the family member that hurts and the family member that was hurt.

The State of Utah believes, and I think rightly so, that children benefit from a relationship with both parents. However, Utah also appears to believe in forcing children to have a relationship with their estranged parent – something, that unless the child is on board or is behaving like a spoiled brat – I strongly disagree with.

Do you think that compelling a teenager to reunify with his or her estranged parent is going to help the parent-child relationship? I think, that in most cases it would not. From the cases I’ve seen, it has actually worsened the rift between the child and estranged parent.

I wish the state of Utah would take more into consideration what the children themselves say instead of relying on a guardian ad litem to inform the court what the children supposedly want. I also think the state of Utah should have the option open for reunification of children and estranged parents, but that it shouldn’t be forced over and over again when it is clearly not working.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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