Category Archives: Co-Parenting

Children Support – During and After Divorce

No two children are exactly alike and due to their personality, age differences, and the relationships they have with each parent divorce will have different affects on them. As difficult at it may be, letting your children know what’s around the corner due to the divorce is very important.

During and after divorce it is important to eliminate as much anxiety for them as possible. They are going to have their good days and bad and by keeping the lines of communication open they will feel safe to come to you for support and to share their feelings. Even if things seem to be okay you should take some quiet time to talk with your children to see how they are coping with the changes.

It is important to understand that children who are victims of divorce may need outside support. They don’t always feel safe or have the desire to confide in their parents. They may have mixed feelings about what is going on or be angry. Many turn to talking to their peers whom have gone through divorce. They may also confide in other adults such as a school counselor or family member.

If your children do confide in someone else, don’t take it personal, instead be relieved that they are reaching out and getting help. Divorce is very difficult and counseling is an effective tool for managing what they are going through.

Children need a great deal of support when a divorce is taking place. Surround them with resources to choose from and talk to them about additional help they may need. If they don’t have someone to talk to or they aren’t ready to open up to you then see if they are interested in seeing a professional counselor. The point is to give them an outlet to deal with what is going on in their life at this time. If you have more than one child it is likely that they will have different needs so stay in tune to the. It is important to remember that they will need this support long after the divorce has concluded. Just like with divorcing parents, their feelings don’t get turned off when the divorce is finalized.

Keep Your Children Out of the Middle

Many marriages have ended because of the lack of communication between partners. Divorce does not solve this problem, especially if there are children involved. In fact, it can make it worse because of the resentment and anger associated with divorce.

Children are often caught in the middle because of the poor communication between parents and they suffer for it. Young children will tend to love each parent unconditionally and won’t see the faults that you do. If you bad mouth the other parent or disrespect them in front of your children it will hurt them.

Some parents are so hurt and angry from the divorce that they try to get back at the other by keeping their children from them. This is a no win situation for everyone. Your child will be happier while with you if they get to see the other parent otherwise they are depressed and sad which will lead to them acting out. Unless you have a sound reason (safety issue) your children should not see the other parent you should never keep them from seeing each other.

You don’t want your child to be caught in the middle after divorce. They will be having a hard enough time as it is with the change and not having the family unit together. They don’t need to be used a pawn to hurt each other. The marriage has already been ruined because of selfish behavior; there is no need to continue.

The best thing that you can do for your children after divorce is to heal and promote a healthy positive outlook. Don’t squabble over irrelevant stuff, especially in front of the children. Learn to heal and forgive, not only your ex but yourself. Teach your child that you can work things out even if you are no longer a family and you want them to be part of each parent’s life. Make sure you always stop to consider how your actions are going to affect your children before you engage in them.

If you are having a hard time getting through to your ex or they are an uncooperative you should check out the Co-parenting Nightmare Resource.

Children and Divorce

Parents worry when going through divorce on how it will affect their children. In the midst of the chaos, hurt and pain it is hard to put one’s emotions to the side and focus on what the children need but parents should make it a priority to do so.

Divorce does have an effect on children no matter what age they are. Infants seem to be able to adjust well but they do react to the change in mood from their parents and it can upset them.

The older the children the more they understand and struggle with the change. They often have feelings of guilt and many blame themselves for the divorce. They think if they would have eaten all their dinner, cleaned their room, or didn’t bicker with their siblings that mom and dad would still be together. They also experience anger, depression, and fear.

Fear of being alone or of abandonment is common among school age children. They might hold on to their special blanket a bit longer or start wetting the bed. Children at this age have a hard time dealing with their feelings. Sometimes they even feel that they must choose sides.

Children that are in their teens have a better understanding of what is happening yet they still go through many of the emotions that younger children do. Often times teens are expected to step up into adulthood before they are ready and take on more of the responsibility around the home. Teens might feel emotions like anger, depression, resentment and embarrassment.

The key to dealing with children and divorce is for both parents to stay active in their lives. They need to love them, support them, and show that they care. Children need to feel accepted and loved by their parents whether they are divorced or not.

Never put your children in the middle and protect them from any disagreements. They should never hear you bad mouthing your partner or fighting. Discussing the situation with older children and letting them know what involvement each parent will have is also very important. You might not love your ex anymore but chances are your children do.

Try not to change too many things around; if you can keep them in the same house, school, neighborhood, or child care you should. Let them hang with friends and family that they normally do. It is hard enough dealing without the divorce you don’t want to totally shock them by changing everything else in their lives.

Winning Child Custody

Divorce isn’t something we typically plan for and sadly enough maybe we should; over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and it has adverse affects on everyone involved, especially the children.

Surviving the child custody process can take its toll. Both parties are angry and bickering with one another while the children are stuck in the middle.

During the child custody process the children MUST come first! If you feel your soon to be ex is taking advantage or manipulating your children; turning them against you then you need to act quickly and protect your rights!

The legal process is costly and time consuming, fortunately there is affordable help available to assist you in the child custody process. Getting Through the “Gut-Wrenching” child Custody Process and keeping Your Kids! will show you how to do just that and much more. Learn how to:

  • Avoid Common and Costly Mistakes
  • Understand child custody strategies that work
  • Get your attorney to work harder for YOU
  • Control your costs
  • and much more…

Mens Guide to Choosing a Family Lawyer

Men are problem solvers and tend to try and work their problems out on their own. If we are lost we don’t like to ask for directions, we think that we can put together complex projects by only reading half of the directions and in all honesty this works well most of the time but there are times when we must swallow our pride and ask for help.

Going through a nasty divorce is stressful and challenging. Most people in their right mind don’t know what to do and seeing things beyond the anger and illogical decision of your spouse is hard. Men have been lead to believe that their children are better off with their mother because they are nurturing and loving. Quite frankly, there are many mothers out there that are just the opposite. Father’s rights are important and dads make just as good parents as moms as long as the children are put first.

If you have just been served with divorce papers then chances are you are behind the gun. Your spouse has been planning and plotting this for weeks or even months. They know what they want and they have been talking to a their own lawyer learning how to get it. Fathers – you don’t have to sit back quietly and accept the deal society used to give to men. You can have a say in how much you get to see your children.

To get started you need to find yourself a good family lawyer that is going to represent you and your interests. In this case it is being able to be the father you want to be and protecting your rights as a father.

Here are some tips for picking a family lawyer:

  1. If he/she tries to make you feel guilty for not hiring them then you need to keep looking because they are manipulating you.
  2. Do they offer a free consultation? Most do and you want to be able to sit down with them and discuss how they will handle your case.
  3. Their track record in court is important as well. How long they have been practicing family law? What percentage of cases are settled before trial and what percentage are won at trial?
  4. Ask them about their rates, lawyers can cost a lot of money but they don’t have to be outrageous and good lawyers can be affordable.
  5. Ask around with friends and family to see if they have worked with anyone that did a really good job.
  6. When you meet with the lawyer you want to feel comfortable with them and you want to feel that they understand the issues and what you are going through.
  7. You may want to steer clear of lawyers that simply want to make the other party look bad. This often can backfire. Remember it is about doing what is best for the child and that is what your case has to be built on.

When getting a family lawyer you may be tempted to do whatever it takes to win. That is okay but the problem lies in your motivation. Sure your spouse may be trying to hurt you but you don’t have to sink to their level. Put your children first and it will show because that is what truly matters. Children are innocent victims of divorce and you have to stand up for them and exercise your rights as a father.

If you still uncertain where to start you can find over 100 child custody publications written by world famous custody experts. These resources will help you get equal say when it comes to your children.

Father Bond Fades after Divorce

Many fathers worry about their bond with their child fading after divorce. This is a difficult time for everyone and especially for the child. There are a multitude of variations on how custody could be split between father and mother after divorce and we are going to discuss some tips that can help keep the father bond from fading after divorce.

For starters, with the child in mind, don’t be scared to try and get more custody of your child. I have not come across any statistics that show mothers being the better parent. It used to be that society favored the mother, however, we may be seeing that change. Fathers are just as capable to raise and love their children.

  1. Setting rules – rules need to be consistent at both places, of course this isn’t always possible but do the best you can. Don’t be too hard on the child during this time. Help them to adjust to the new arrangement.
  2. Both places of residence should feel like home to the child. Dad’s house should not take on the feel as a place that the child is merely visiting. Have your own set of clothes, toys, and other things for the child.
  3. Spend quality time with your child as often as possible. When they are with you – read to them, watch a movie together, or play a game. Arrange your schedule to fit their needs; you can put off doing your stuff until they are tucked in bed.
  4. They will cry for mom on occasion, especially if they are overly tired, in trouble, or doing something they don’t want to do. Chances are they do it at their mom’s place too. Don’t take it personal.
  5. Have a routine when they are at your house. Dinner, bath, and bed should be part of the routine. Have a certain night you take the kids out for dinner or an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen.
  6. When the children are at mom’s house call them just to say, “hi” and tell them about your day. Sometimes they may say, “they don’t want to talk to you.” Again it isn’t personal – they are just in the middle of something. Many times they will talk and talk and talk until you have to tell them to go play. By calling them often you are being part of their routine even when you aren’t there. This is a good way to take an active role in your child’s life.

These are some good ways to stay connected with your child after divorce. The most important thing they need to know is that you love them. If you are uncertain whether they know that then ask them, “Do you know your daddy loves you?” They will tell you. Don’t be a Disney Land dad – be a dad that wants to raise healthy, happy, successful children. Participate in their lives, go to school events, pick them up every time you are supposed too, show them they can talk to you, and connect with them while they are at their mom’s. Doing these things will help keep that bond between you and your children strong after divorce.

Working Together after Divorce

None of us get married thinking that someday it will end in divorce. Often times we think of ourselves as the exception rather than the rule, “it will never happen to me.” Yet it does happen and some would say that the divorce rate is out of control – you tell me… would you consider a 50 percent divorce rate acceptable?

It is evident that current society lacks the tools and understanding of what it takes to make a marriage work. Even worse is the fact that our children are suffering for the choices we have made and the things we have done. After divorce it is critical for parents to be able to put their differences aside and place their children in a position of priority.

Statistics show kids of divorce will have challenges throughout life but it can be helped, if not avoided, if both parents take an active role in their child’s life. Working together right out of the gate may be difficult and it may take some time, however, you may find that given the right attitude and motivation you and your ex may develop a better relationship than what you previously had.

Depending on your child’s age, needs, and the parent that primarily took care of the child before the divorce it is important to set up a parenting plan that best suits the needs of the child. You want your child to feel at home when at both places, not like they are visiting.

You may be angry, hurt, and bitter after divorce and you may be tempted to say hurtful things to your ex in front of your child or share with them the pain that has been caused but remember all this really accomplishes is hurting the child. It is far more important to treat one another, as well as your child, with respect and kindness.

Life is full or challenges and this is going to be one of them. Your child will benefit greatly if both parents are able to put their differences aside and participate in their child’s life. If your child wins then you win and just maybe they will avoid some of the mistakes you made.

Smoking Can Cost You Your Children

Over the years it is obvious that there is serious health effects associated with smoking. We are seeing business’s ban smoking, new laws and regulations, tobacco is highly taxed, the health of Americans are a major concern as smoking kills over half a million people each year. Many of which are non-smokers.

Even if you are a parent that smokes you want to protect your children from the harmful effects of smoking but you don’t have to smoke around them to cause them harm. Secondhand smoke sticks to your clothes, hair, furniture, car upholstery, and so on. There are over 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke and smoking residue potentially could be a health risk.

Direct secondhand smoke can cause children to suffer bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and more severe asthma attacks. Thousands of children are hospitalized each year because of secondhand smoke. Children will have to deal with these things for the rest of their lives.

The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments. Children exposed to secondhand smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest risk of damaging health effects.

Because of these things the child custody courts are getting more and more vocal about this very issue. Nearly half of the states in the US have ruled that whether a parent smokes should be taken into consideration when determining child custody. In some cases parents have lost visitation and had their custody agreements modified because they exposed their children to secondhand smoke.

“The controversy over whether smokers damage the health of people they live with has found its way into child custody cases — and that’s bad news for smokers.” Wall Street Journal

We want to teach our children and look after them the best we can but we can’t do it if we don’t live it. Parenting by example is just that… we live what we teach and we put our children first. Whether you choose to quit smoking or not is clearly up to you but you must know that there will be consequences for your actions in ways you never imagined. Why not seize this opportunity to learn more about quitting smoking and visit. SmokeFree.gov

Children Come First

When couples separate or divorce it is critical to put together a shared parenting plan that meets the CHILD’s needs, not yours! Over the years research has shown that children from divorce will negatively be impacted. It is challenging for parents to decide how they will divide the time with their children. They fear the loss of their relationship and they are also concerned about the negative impact it will have. They couldn’t agree on things while they were together how much more difficult will it be when the most precious thing in their lives is taken into consideration?

This is the time where emotion, hate, bitterness, anger, hurt, and selfishness needs to be put aside. We know that children do their best when they have stability with both parents and meaningful interaction with them – divorce and separation can take that away.

Co-Parenting – What Children Need

  • Children do their best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their children’s lives.
  • Each parent has valuable and different contributions to make to their children’s development.
  • Children should have structured, routine time as well as unstructured time with each parent.
  • If both parents work then it is important to find a daycare provider that you both can agree on, one that is easily accessible to both parents.
  • Children have developed relationships with family members, friends, and siblings – it is important for them to be able to maintain these relationships in a positive manner.
  • Parents need to be able to communicate and cooperate when it involves their children.
  • Both households should feel secure to the children and share the same rules and values.
  • Allow your children to bring personal items from one place to the other without worrying about who bought what.
  • Over time, parenting plans may need to be adjusted to better suit the children and family members’ needs.

Remember This

Children are HARMED when they are exposed to conflict between their parents. Don’t argue or fight in front of your children when picking them up or talking on the phone when they can hear you.

The Essense of Good Parenting…

Is to reassure your children that they are loved, cared for and protected by BOTH parents.

References:
Massachusetts Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

A Divorced Dad’s Greatest Responsibility

A feeling of alienation always happens during and after the divorce, especially with older kids. It is important that as the father, try to prevent alienation from happening. You recognize the signs, and help cure the problem when it’s already rooted.

Accountability And Choice

How often to we hear kids tell their parents that they were never ask, or that they were never given a choice. Alienation begins when parents exclude kids because they think their children won’t understand. It is true however that some things are better kept between yourselves as a couple or ex couple, but you have to learn to segregate. Identify which ones should be out in the open, although always keep intimate details between your self and your ex.

Giving your kids the opportunity to offer input when it comes to the visitation schedule lends them a sense of empowerment. They feel needed. It is quite unfortunate that the parent who does not have primary custody gets bad press especially with the kids. When the kids are able to act as part of the family they feel like they still have value in your life.

Acknowledge that your children may not be as immature as your think. Despite being kids they have a sense of ownership. Let them decide about anything regarding their belongings.

Mom VS. Dad

Alienation commonly arises when both the exes blame each and the other for everything that goes wrong with their lives; from the financial to the personal and even as immaterial as say the death of a pet.

When this would happen, the children become a tool to try and hurt each other. As the father you have to spot this sign and modify yourself immediately. Always be level headed and reasonable. If your ex does not want to be flexible or finds an excuse to keep your kid away from you then try and talk things calmly with your ex wife.

Asking your kids to choose between the two of you is the cardinal sin of divorce. Doing so causes an insurmountable amount of distress on the child’s part. This kind of trauma will be brought up till the end of her or his lifetime.

Instilling Discipline

Children are also very wise. They could use the divorce as an opportunity to get what they want. Don’t fall into this kind of trap. Do not try to and buy their love and loyalty with goodies, gifts and permission to do things. Instead earn their respect by instilling proper disciplinary methods.

Your way of setting things straight may be used against you, so watch out. If your kids calmly tell you that they don’t really remember one time when you were there as a father, then suspect that things have been said against you. Prove it wrong and then soon your children will see the truth.

Be Wary, Watch Out For Signs

As a divorced dad it is your right and responsibility to safeguard your relationship with your children. Spot the symptoms of alienation. Here are a few: A possible adoption or change of name, special signs and secret signals, kids anger towards demeaned parent for no apparent reason, interrupted visitation rights, making unreasonable demands, over protective ex for no apparent reason. Watch out! You yourself might also be causing the gap, at no time should you make promises you cannot keep.

Father Child Custody Rights

What Every Father Should Know when Fighting for Custody of Their Child

It is no secret that the courts tend to grant mothers primary physical custody when it comes to divorce. As a divorced father, this was the hardest thing that I ever had to deal with in my life. The thought of not waking up and coming home to my little girl everyday was sickening. In the grand scheme of things I was fortunate to get joint physical custody, 50/50 from the beginning and after nearly 3 years of preparation I was able to get primary physical custody of my daughter, 75/25, and here is how I did it…

Find a Good Divorce Lawyer

It is estimated that women initiate the divorce process over 70 percent of the time. So what does this mean for you men out there? That you are already behind the eight ball and you have a lot of work ahead of you. Your spouse has been planning and preparing for this moment for a long time and may have alleged many things against you so now it is your job to disprove them and begin to build your defense. In almost all cases you should look to a divorce lawyer to help you out and the best way to find a good one is to talk to people you know and trust. You only have a certain amount of time to respond so don’t hesitate.

Control Your Anger

Yes, you are going to be angry but keep it under control. Save it for the punching bag at the gym or the racquetball court. Be civil and business-like when talking to you spouse, you never know who is listening or in my case recording.

Keep Up On Being a Father

You have every right to see your child as your spouse does. Be careful to what you agree to before the divorce because it could bite you in the ass later. If you want joint physical custody then from day one be with your child 50 percent of the time. How do you think it would look when you are in front of the judge and ask for 50/50 and the best you have been doing is 4 days a month? Children need a safe, clean, stable, and loving environment to grow in – so provide it! If your child is in school, live in that school district. From here on out it is all about the kid.

Build Your Case

Of course you will have a lot of help from your attorney here but you don’t have to wait until you get one to start building your case, in many instances this could take years (modification to custody agreement). I knew in the beginning that I would not get more than 50/50 so I did not push it. But after months, which turned into years, of watching my ex drag our daughter from one boyfriends’ house to another amongst other negative things I made it my mission to try and get primary physical custody. This is where you get your hands dirty a bit. Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Remember to always put your child interests first! This isn’t about hurting your spouse it is about doing what is right for your child.
  2. Read number 1 again – this is critical.
  3. Keep a journal that details phone conversations, change of address, job changes, days late or missed when spouse was supposed to pick up the child, hostile behavior from your spouse, etc. I did this for 3 years, it can come in handy when your lawyer is putting together your case.
  4. Record conversations between you and your spouse, especially if she has been lying. Check the laws in your state on what you need to do to make this legal. In my state only one party needed to know and that was me. However, I did inform her in the beginning to expect being recorded so she knew and it would strengthen my stance because she continued to spout the venom she did knowing it could go to court.
  5. Consider getting a home study. These are not cheap, however, if you are being wrongly accused you can help yourself out greatly by getting a home study and paying for it. Don’t make it about money… make it about what is best for the child.
  6. Don’t expect too much. I thought I had a pretty good case with my ex-spouse exhibiting mental illness, instability, violence, etc but chances of me getting full custody would have been near impossible so don’t over do it.

Any divorce is difficult and it is even worse when children are involved. No loving parent wants to see their child put in the middle all of this and unfortunately they will be affected by it not matter what. The point is to do what you feel is best for your child and get outside help if necessary. Emotion needs to be put aside, logic must prevail and guide the process. In my case I had to go back and do a modification to our child custody agreement but do you think that my ex wanted to go in front of the judge with 12 address changes in three years, 3 suicide attempts, not picking up her daughter at her scheduled time, being late, etc? Of course she didn’t and if it weren’t for the journaling and recording I would not have been able to prove any of it. Fathers can win child custody!

Here is some additional help for Winning Child Custody.