By: Marilyn Gale Vilyus
Following are some “tips” to help you if you want your children to live with you!
Research shows that when two parties enter into an agreement, they are less likely to end up back in Court to change the final “orders.” Also, mediation allows for a lot of flexibility in customized arrangements which is often a “win-win” for both parties!
It’s hard to have realistic expectations! We know you care about your kids and that you both want as much time with them as possible!
Sole custody should usually be reserved for those cases in which one of the parents has severe issues with violence, drugs or alcohol. Unless you have that situation or some other serious circumstance, the Court will absolutely maintain your child’s relationship with the parent who does not live with the child (ie. They will make sure there is sufficient visitation.)
This will only work if you do not live too far apart. But, if possible, your kids will benefit from being able to see both parents (and grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.) each year instead of having to alternate holidays every other year! Try to work out a reasonable schedule! Also, consider forming "new" traditions! Perhaps, you might go caroling or plan a special "Sunday before Christmas" party! Maybe each year you can start a caravan to "go look at the Christmas lights and come back to your house for hot cocoa" party! You will all benefit from the new traditions and festivities!
The more you can consult with each other re the planning of dates for camp, tutoring, recitals, out of town trips, etc., the easier and more pleasant your relationship will be for you, your spouse and your kids!
Make sure that you are home at the time your spouse is to arrive to pick up the kids, or call to let your spouse know you are almost home!
If you are going to be late picking up or returning the kids, please do call your spouse or ex-spouse to make sure they know you are “on your way!”
Ever. Enough said.
Encourage your kids to stay close to their other parent and their families! Your kids need all of you! Help your kids remember special occasions like their other parent’s birthday!
Give your "ex" the same courtesy and benefit of the doubt you would like them to give you.
Don’t put additional stress on your kids by making them your messengers.
Do not say, “I can’t buy you that toy because your dad is a deadbeat and I can’t count on when he will pay the child support.” Do not say, “I can’t take you to a movie because your mother is taking me for everything I have.”
Make sure your new relationship is a meaningful one before you expose your child to them. It’s hard for a kid to meet someone new that they like only to find out you are breaking up.
Also, when you do introduce them to a new person, understand that kids may be afraid to become attached to someone new either because they think this will betray their other parent or because they are afraid to become attached to them.
It’s not healthy for your child, and you can be sure, your spouse or ex will use this against you.
If you follow the above “tips,” your “parenting during and following divorce” experience will go much more smoothly! Not only will you be happier, but your kids will thank you for your efforts!