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Court is a Choice Between Two Evils – Choose Neither

March 19, 2016

Of two evils, choose neither – C.H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)

The quote reminded me of parents who go to court to settle parenting disputes, however, parents don’t realize they are dealing with two evils when looking at winning or losing.

Losing seems obvious, winning, less so.

How are these two evils? Because whenever there is a winner, there is an unhappy loser.

In losing, the loser seeks to right their view of a wrong. The loser wants to win. In seeking to win and discharging resentment along the way, the loser is less likely to follow the terms of a court order. The loser is more likely to seek opportunity to return the matter to court to reverse the outcome. Hence two evils, losing and winning. Conflict and court continues no matter who wins.

Mediation is all about choosing neither evil. Mediation is all about figuring out what both persons can live with. No winners or losers, just finding a way to get along, get through. Neither has to walk away happy, but neither do they need to walk away sad. They just find a way to walk.

If you are entrenched is a dispute that has taken on the fight of good and bad, right and wrong, better and worse, then you are already involved is a dispute of two evils. None of us are either all bad or all good and the real issue of how to parent between you is lost. Your children grow up in that space between you. They too can be lost or they can be found.

If you are stuck in a parenting dispute, consider mediation for figuring out a way to just move forward. Anger, fear, upset and distrust will walk the path with you to start. However, when you focus on how to manage your children between you instead of who shall parent, the walk changes and the dispute can turn to resolution.

This doesn’t necessarily come easily and that is why you need a skilled mediator. Choose a process where the path is less likely to return matters to court. In the end, you want to get on with life.


Know someone who might benefit from this information? Please scroll down and share this article. To view my list list of peacemaking strategies to facilitate settlement, check this out.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships

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