MALMQUIST v. MALMQUIST

Divorce cases can be emotional, difficult affairs. This divorce has been especially contentious. The parties’ animosity towards one another has grown to the point where the trial court felt it necessary to prohibit the parties from contacting each other for any reason except where absolutely necessary. We wish it were not the case, but the trial court’s action appears entirely prudent under the facts. The parties offer no suggestion to the contrary. The resolution of this divorce case, however, will not conclude the opportunities for dispute between Husband and Wife. As we have seen in similar divorces cases, the entry of a final decree is often seen as nothing but an invitation to move for its modification. We nevertheless hope the parties will exercise restraint as they move forward, focusing on the best interests of their children.

We admonish the parties, particularly Wife, to consider the following statement one Tennessee trial judge traditionally shares with parents involved in a parenting dispute:

Your children have come into this world because of the two of you. Perhaps you two made lousy choices as to whom you decided to be the other parent. If so, that is your problem and your fault.No matter what you think of the other party—or what your family thinks of the other party—those children are one half of each of you. Remember that, because every time you tell your child what an idiot his father is, or what a fool his mother is, or how bad the absent parent is, or what terrible things that person has done, you are telling the child that half of him is bad.That is an unforgivable thing to do to a child. That is not love; it is possession. If you do that to your children, you will destroy them as surely as if you had cut them into pieces, because that is what you are doing to their emotions.I sincerely hope you do not do that to your children. Think more about your children and less of yourselves, and make yours a selfless kind of love, not foolish or selfish, or they will suffer.

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