How to Handle Your Emotions While your Divorce Lawyer Handles the Legalities of Custody.
There are many things your divorce lawyer can do for you and some he cannot. We cannot help you keep your emotions in check dealing with the changes you are making. People going through divorce have strong emotions and sometimes make rash judgments. In the case of dividing custody of your children, though, it is important to try to get beyond animosities and grief to do what is best for the kids.
In the past, judges generally awarded custody of the children of divorce to the mother. In cases of very small children they still do, because some studies show little children do better with their mothers. In the case of older children, though, judges are awarding shared custody. That doesn't necessarily mean the time children spend with each parent will be equal, but it does mean the court expects parents to work as a team sharing rights, responsibilities and financial liabilities. This is important, especially if you are a father. Your children need both their parents but it is easier for parents who do not have primary, or residential, custody to slip out of the picture.
If you are a parent who is trying to figure out what co-parenting involves, you may need some help in understanding your part. First, make sure you know what your court documents say. Then, following them as closely as possible, realize that you are making a new beginning. No longer is incompatibility or infidelity the prime issue; your relationship with your ex-spouse is now all about the wellbeing of your children. You may be responsible to keep up your child's health insurance, to pay half of all educational expenses or to contribute financially in other areas. Remember that the agreement is not about giving money to your ex, but about supporting your children just as you would if the marriage had remained intact.
Keep your feelings and your behavior separate. After a frustrating phone conversation with your ex-spouse you may be angry. Figure out how to channel that anger and do not vent to your children.
Never use your children as messengers. Communication is vital to co-parenting. Set up a consistent schedule for phone calls between you and your ex and talk about the children and their issues only.
Never begin a conversation with, "You need to..." or "I want you to...." Instead say, "Can we try..."
Become an active listener. Don't interrupt, and take notes if you have to. Be aware of the way your ex-spouse is phrasing things and try not to jump to conclusions.
Co-parenting is easier with rules that both parents can accept. To make sure the court addresses your abilities and desires in the parenting order, you should have legal representation. Experienced divorce lawyers can anticipate trouble that might surface in a few months or a few years and make sure the decree provides for such issues. They can also mediate and ensure that the court considers your ability to financially support your children.
If you are divorcing and want to make sure the court considers your children's and your best interests in parenting time and responsibility, contact. This is an emotional time; let us be your voice of reason.