Is it ok for parties to leverage children to get what they want in family court custody cases?

family law custody and transactional attorney

I have a hard time even writing that question. I am the type of lawyer that believes leveraging children is one of the most detestable things imaginable. If you’re reading this and you want to hire an attorney that will leverage children, please don’t try and hire me. If you generally agree and/or you have questions about this tactic, please continue. Please know that I will never leverage children. If a client hired me, and later wants to leverage children, I will not. We would either part ways (without a refund) or continue without that approach. I would try to persuade otherwise.

Is it ethical for lawyers to be okay using children as leverage to get what their client’s want?

Unfortunately, the ethical rules for lawyers do not sanction attorneys who leverage children. It falls within the concept of advocacy. Lawyers have discretion to choose their methods, using whatever tactics they deem effective, as long as those methods are not illegal. This means that many lawyers are perfectly okay with leveraging children to get what their clients want. Lawyers like to win, and some will cross lines that others will not.

That said, I am the type of lawyer that can never respect a fellow lawyer who uses the tactic of leveraging children. I don’t even respect a lawyer who goes along with his client that wants to leverage children. I find it absolutely revolting. It is detestable to me. I will do my best to work peacefully and effectively with fellow attorneys who use this tactic. I can leave my personal feelings aside, seeing the bigger picture of achieving my client’s goals. It’s like eating something disgusting, where you pinch your nose and quickly swallow. If anything, it is a situation where I am determined to win because I hate when this tactic is used.

If you’re coming against a lawyer who leverages children, please know that it is not a winning strategy and many family law attorneys have a special passion to fight against this approach.

What are the reasons not to leverage children in family court custody cases?

Of course the obvious answer is that a person is incredibly selfish to use children as a pawns. Yes, using a child to get what you want is as bad as it sounds. It should be obvious to people that this is a bad thing to do.

However, I know people reading this probably want the less obvious reason because it might be tempting to leverage children when a parent is tempted to see it in the best interest of the children. Perhaps both parents are leveraging children, and one feels like they need to play the same game. It’s not worth the worth the risk.

The short term goals are not worth the long term risk. Beside being something that moral people need to struggle to even do, leveraging children is a huge risk that the children will resent the fact that another parent was put into that situation. Children tend to feel the pain of the parent who has suffered at the hands of the other. They tend to resent the parent that made the other parent suffer, especially when they were the object of that suffering. Leveraging children is highly likely to backfire, where the parent loses the long-term respect of the child leveraged. Children are your greatest legacy. Besides a litany of other great reasons to never leverage children to get what you want, you don’t want to leave a bad impression on your child. You don’t want them growing up to feel used to get back at the other parent. They will take it personal in ways you will absolutely regret.

If you weren’t convinced before, I hope this helped. At least I am clear where I stand on the issue. If I sound like the type of lawyer you want to work with, please schedule a free consultation using the form below.


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