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Happiness = Reality - Expectation

Having too high an expectation, and finding that reality cannot match it is a sure fire way to drive crushing disappointment. 

In my experience, most non custodial parents embarking on this journey have overly optimistic expectations of the system. As reality hits home, that crushing disappointment starts to kick in and can, if you’re not careful, drive you into the ground.

One of the best ways to protect yourself, and by extension your kids, is to manage your expectations. Be realistic. Make a plan that takes into account the real world, and you’ll find that surviving the difficulties is far less difficult. Simple examples I hear you ask?

Police: The police enforce the law, criminal law. Not civil law. Fanmily law is civil law, so, generally speaking, the police cannot get involved unless one or other parent is getting angry (i.e. doimestic violence). They can intervene where theres a disturbance of the peace, or to issue a DV related intervention order. So if you're expecting them to sort out non adherence to your family court made 'contact order', they won't, unless you get angry at them or the other parent, then they intervene. Knowing this, keeps you out of trouble. Having a go at the police, when they can;'t help you, but can make a report of your abusive behaviour towards them, is worth thinking about. 

Family courts: Family courts follow procedural steps; they do not deliver justice. It doesn't much matter who's right or wrong, the only thing the court does it follow process that is designed (imperfectly) to protect the best interests of the child. Using the courts and following their process, maybe even helping them to get the best interest bit right, gets you significantly further ahead than pushing them to punish the 'ex' for being nasty to you. They can't do that and it only annoys the judge. Sooner or later, you get this. Too often, after tou've bankrupted yourself finding out, which suits your lawyer wanting their next holiday to the bahama's right down to the ground. 

I could give plenty more examples, and will i later subscriber posts. For now, sit back, relax, take time to assume the worst, plan for that scenario, then enact your plan. One step at a time. Manage toyr expectation and you do not end up being dissapointed. For my part, the day I got this, was the day I started walking out of court not crushed by my latest failure to overtturn a terrible situation, but pleased that I'd ticked off another step closer to where I'd decided I was going to get in 5 years and qo court visits later. See the point? Changing your perspective, managuing your expecation, changes everything. It turns a continual and crushing negative into a positive and proactive plan taken one step at a time.

TIP: Find, befriend and talk it through with peers, especially those further down the road than you. They are uniquely positioned to help develop a clearer perspective.