Child Custody/Divorce

Divorce and Child Custody issues are one of hardest articles to write because every case is different; however the foundation of “For the Best Interest of the Children” is often lost. It is a known fact that children need a co-parenting relationship that would mean they need a guardianship of a mother and father figure. Knowing that there is an unhealthy relationship between a parent and child that occurs daily, the majority of this article would not apply to those cases. But there is fine line to what is considered an unhealthy relationship and a parent induced unhealthy relationship.

The biggest, number one issue between divorced parents is money. Money is the main reason why they fight and money is the main reason cased end up in court. But how can we put a price on children? It takes money to raise children but it also takes co-parenting to raise children, so where is that line? After discussing with several parents their situation and going through my own; I analysis the child support issues.

a. Parents A, went through a divorce, one parent was laid off from his job and was unable to find employment quickly, and he fell a little behind on child support. After getting another job, the employer was bouncing pay checks cause him to fall further behind on child support. End result, after being less then $1000.00 behind, he was found in contempt and went to jail.

b. Parent B, parents were never married and they had child. One parent made the choice never to see the child and did not pay anything towards child support. Parent never went to jail or found in contempt.

c. Parent C, parent made the choice not pay child support stated he could not afford the support and children were stating of all the new items parent purchased for his new love or himself. Parent never went to jail or found in contempt.

Sometimes life brings us situation that we have to compromise and work around. I think it is equally important for the mother to try and find a compromise if the father is making the effort to help out to the best of his capabilities and just because money is an issue why can’t the mother suggest other options so the father feels like he is trying. The mother could always offer house maintenance, drop off or pick up of the kids or even babysitting time. If the other parent just flat out refuses to pay, the mother needs to really think is it worth the expense of going court and the emotional stress it brings on the children, or can I live without the income.

Money should never be discussed with the children. You can’t let the jealousy feelings that one parent cares more about his new relationship then helping with support, believe me the children know what parent is supporting them. The only person they are really hurting is the children by not paying the child support. Child support is built to provide the children the life style they were accustom to prior to the divorce.  Child support should not be viewed as additional source of income because it clouds the “Best Interest of the Children” and continues the financial battle even after the divorce. Its okay to send emails giving the parent the receipts of expenses they are court order to pay but don’t send any other communication other then “attached is the receipt and what the receipt is for”. Don’t let money be the cause of not having a co-parenting relationship.

The second biggest issue we face is the terms Mom, Dad, Step-Mom, and Step-Dad, etc. How confusing for children, the children are being caught in the middle in picking and choosing who they love. Every divorce parents goes through the class that discuss that we need to realize that the children will always love their mother and father. We often take this for granted. Being a divorce, single mom; I must say it is difficult not to show the emotion pain of divorce in the house around the children. So, I created a boundary in my house that everyone that enters including family members will follow, it is called respect. We respect that my ex-husband is the father of the children and we respect the love the children has for that parent. Out of that respect, I made the decision that even if I were to re-marry, the children are not to call that person dad  because that spot is reserved to the person that it belongs with. That decision causes less confusion in the house and it relieved the children of the stress of parent replacement. It also causes less tension between the co-parenting relationship because no one feels like they are being replaced.

I had the privilege of meeting a family where a mother was telling her children that she did not want them and wished they were never born. The father remarried and the children made a decision that if their mom did not want them and with their new step-mom showing them the love they craved and deserved; they adopted their step-mom as mom. What was nice about this relationship is the father and step-mom let the children decide for themselves what type of relationship they wanted. By letting the children decide on their own what everyone’s place is in the home, the emotional stress is removed. Children may not decide or talk quicker then what we would like but once they make that decision they move on and put things behind them; this is a good example even adults should follow. The best thing we can do for children in this situation as a child is going through the emotions is to hug them, tell them you love them and just listen to the child. It is not our place as a parent to feed into the negative thoughts because it just caused harm to your relationship you are trying to build with the children. Simply listening and stating you understand is the best thing you can do for your children as they make that ultimate decision of everyone’s place in the home.

Participating in the lives of the child/children seems to get lost in a divorce because of our own hatred or emotions for the other parent. Just imagine, you’re a nine year old and your baseball team just make the playoffs; who do you want at your game? What we can do as parents is to respect that the child would like both parents to attend. Invite the other parent; open the invitation so they feel welcome to bring who ever they wish. When you arrive at the event, let the children greet the other parent and let them pick who they want to sit by and don’t be discourage if they don’t pick you. Realize that your child may miss the other parent. I find myself by staying positive and open; the children tend to run back and forth because they feel the burden of sharing their time with both parents.

Don’t make up excused for the other parent if they choose not to attend, there is nothing wrong with telling the children “I am sorry they could not be there for you” and then leave it at that. Mom / Dads, it’s your responsibility to talk with the children and tell them why you can’t not make it, if you leave it to the other parent; in the children’s eyes it comes across as negative or misleading.

There are many other topics on divorce and custody because of different types of situations that come up and I only went through the top three issues that we face. The best thing we can do as parents is to put our emotions aside and think about how our children feel and what can we do to limit the stress we cause on them. If it means put remove the money discussions and issues and put the place naming in their hands; not only would we gain respect from our children but we can build a co-parenting relationship.

I realize there are situations were co-parenting relationship can not be established, but in those cases you find abuse is involved and can only be addressed further in the court of law.

Best wishes in your fight for “The best interest of the children”


Story by Miss C

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