In this article, you will learn:
- Common co-parenting mistakes
- How to deal with the other parent
Many people go into a divorce assuming that it is going to be a fifty-fifty situation. My initial job is to ask people what is best for the kids, even if at that time, the parents are having a hard time understanding that or thinking that my job should just be to fight for the maximum amount of time for them possible. For example, if parties are no longer living together, or even living near each other, that is going to play into the schedule. If my client is expecting to have the children on weekday overnights, then I am going to ask them, “You live an hour-and-a-half with traffic in the mornings from school. Do you think that it makes sense for your kids to wake up at 5:30 in the morning so that they can leave at 6:30 to get to school by 8 am because school is near the other parent’s house?” Through questions like this, I can do the hard work of helping to answer these questions, and work with my client so that their expectations can be reasonable.
The Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When It Comes To Custody Matters
Some of the biggest mistakes I see are parents not being able to put the children first and think about the children’s needs. That is where they find themselves with unreasonable expectations and finding themselves feeling like they are hitting their head against the wall with court, maybe changing attorneys several times because each attorney is telling them that their expectations are not reasonable. They are hoping to find someone else who will tell them that they will advance what they are demanding. This is especially true when well-meaning, but uninformed friends or family members are telling them they are right. It is also an incorrect assumption to believe that custody orders will be based on the gender of the parents, or of the children.
Dos And Don’ts Of Custodial Issues And Dealing With And Interacting With Your Co-Parent
Don’t get caught up with your ego and don’t get so focused on the history of the relationship that it can cloud your judgement. I had a former mentor who correctly told me that things are not “always” or “never.” If my client is telling me that something is always or something is never, specifically as it relates to how the other parent is, I probably need to bring them back a step and help understand what is really going on. The do’s are trying to be reasonable even though you feel like the other person is completely not reasonable, and you have all the valid reasons for why you are divorcing them or why you think you are a better parent.
Another do is to try to put things in writing, but not everything in writing. We all may be familiar with the suggestion of not sending an email or a text immediately while you are upset, but rather writing it, but sending it later or maybe never sending it. If it is something that is more of a venting kind of situation, sitting on it and going back later and perhaps adjusting the tone can really pay-off or never. The other parent is probably the LAST person you should be venting to. And finally, it is that very simple adage of “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you,” even if you are correct in perceiving that they are not doing what they should be doing or what you would expect them to be doing. Perhaps you can take the high road or even model the type of behavior you hope to see from them, even if it does not change overnight.
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