I was reading and re-reading what I posted trying to give a fair information, as fair as I can be from the side I am standing on - a single mother who is involved in a custody battle.
I re-visited the sites where lawyers advertise about fathers' rights to look for some changes in their policies, and no. www.fathersrights.org talks about how to get to pay less child support, win a custody case and slip through allegations.
One thing should be clear though, when approaching a custody battle, honesty is key. When we went to mediation, I requested the mediator my son's dad and I visited a family counselor, because out communication problems were major, and if they were not addressed, they would come back to haunt us. The mediator said they cannot force us to go, but she recommended it - I agree, we needed to go for the sake of our child. Recognize your short comings and the areas you as individual need some help.
The desire to work things out needs to be mutual, not for the parents sake, but for the child's sake.
- a child needs time with both parents
- a child needs a place he/she calls home, which means that child spends more time at one particular parent's residence)
can there be a compromise? YES if both parents work together and pride if off the table. The most natural thing is for home to be with the mother (because of how nature is arranged, kids first connection with the mother, etc.); court considers many factors, how feasible the mother makes it for the child to communicate with the other parent, if the mother has the time to give to the child, family connections, etc.
- ALLOW communication with the other parent, remember the deal between you and the other parent is not the issue, but the child's relationship with his/her other parent is.
if you can negotiate for the child to spend more time with the other parent in certain occasions, then go for it - it can be on the record, off the record, as you wish, but respect the other parent's time and relationship with your child.
I cannot emphasize this enough - if you suspect abuse, act accordingly and present the facts to court. Protect your child at all times.
- both parents want to be present on the kids lives.
- many are the words few are the actions.
if the other parent requests to be part of the other kids lives, such as school meetings, doctor's visits, etc, allow it. There you will see how much was bluff and how much was from the heart.
Time will proof how much the other parent wanted this. But don't be the one who forces retreat, encourage the involvement; unfortunately you also have to be there when there is a lack of it to pick up the pieces. In this case, write everything down, explain the other parent the importance of his commitment, and if he is still leaving your children hanging, maybe it is time for another arrangement that will be beneficial for the child. Keep a log.
- a child's life should continue UN-interrupted.
- a split schedule will not allow for that.
This is what bedazzles me about the 50/50 situation fathers' rights endorses. How would the life of a child develop functionally having to jump from house to house half the time of their lives.
Picture school, one week on one school, another week on another, even 5 months at one school, 5 at another. Picture yourself at work on that situation, an adult cannot handle that situation, how can a kid be expected to handle this?
Some "friends" suggested this so my kid can enjoy his father half the time. My suggestion would be, subject your kids through that, and see how it goes. The following response "well, you got yourself on that situation, now deal with it". My response "I did yes, and I am paying for it, my kid shouldn't and doesn't have to."
Please put your child first, not other's people's comments.
A child's life cannot develop as you have desired with a split home situation, we were not designed for that, but that doesn't mean you cannot seek stability (for your child) with the schedule you have.
Schedule activities for your child around his/her schedule, if something special is going on during the other parent's time, ask, negotiate, the worst could happen is hearing a "no". Yes, we get mad, curse the unfair situation, arg! then the event is gone and back to business as usual.
But ask, it is ok, maybe the other parent also wants to exchange a date or a time slot. Be fair, offer the same time you are asking for - talk the situation and hope for the best, be ready for the "no".
There is always next time and next year.
I remember the time my grandmother was dying and wanted to see me (she was all the way in Peru) I could not leave my 6 month baby with his dad (I was breast feeding, my son's dad was working and UN-able to take care of the child, I knew) I pleaded, the dude said no, his reasons were unfounded. My grandmother died when I was on court fighting the issue for the first time.
Do I hate the moment? Absolutely. Would I do the same if the situation happens on his side? I pray that pride and bitterness don't take a hold of my heart, and I pray that I have my son's best interests at heart only.
But the situation came and went, I was angry and hurt and furious! but that gave me a drive to fight that situation in court, so I can take my baby out of the country to visit Peru if needed - it happened! regardless of the opposition, it happened - my son is going to Peru for the second time this year!
I wish my grandmother had met my baby, but it didn't work out that way. It happened, dismiss it, because it we act on what the other parent did to us, the only losers will be the children.
Logic: divorce was for the "best"
Fact: then let's make that best possible for the kids - you may have to work harder, but they deserve it, don't they?
Kids will gravitate to their fathers at one point and to the mother at others, talk to them, allow the time if possible (don't sacrifice school!) - beat the statistics ;)
No, children from broken homes don't end up messed up, don't give into that. Fight for your kids, even against your own pride.
Love your kids!