New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Constructive Conflict

September 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Robert C. Koehler

‘Just Get a Rock and Talk’ 

by Robert C. Koehler 

The thing is, he’d won his case. He got custody of his daughter.

This is the limit of conventional justice: “victory,” which of course means defeat for the other person, in this case, the mother of his daughter. Why not celebrate? His lawyer was satisfied. I mean, come on, you won, man!

But Bill Heenan, a Chicago fireman, had the nagging feeling that his daughter was also one of the losers in the decision. The case had been dragging through Parentage and Child Support Court, one of the busiest in the Cook County Circuit Court system, for a year. The court hears child custody and other child-related cases in which the parents were never married, a situation that may cover nearly half the kids in Chicago.

“The court system is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Bill told me. “You sit there, you don’t say a word. The lawyer does all the talking. Then you go out in the hallway and the lawyer explains what the judge said.” (more…)