The Kids

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The Kids

The most disputed issues in divorce, after money, center on the children. Child custody, child support, and child visitation are the three main battlefields involving kids. Before launching a full-scale operation, ask yourself if you really do want custody. If so, be absolutely certain that you want to be the custodial parent and that your children want to live with you. You need to be a very nurturing parent and be sure that the environment and home life with you is their optimal arrangement.

The decision to "wage war" immediately for custody is crucial when the divorce complaint is initially filed. You first have to huddle with your attorney to arrange your evidence, retain experts, gather your supporting facts, and draft your petition. You’ll need this level of readiness if you ever hope to "hit the road running". Success involves attorneys, their paralegals, research, psychologists, favorable facts, and time. The depth of preparation, organization, and presentation of your case will largely determine your end result. ‘Win Your Child Custody War’ was my compass in case design and helped me understand what to expect at each stage. I give credit for much of my success to the advice taken and ideas implemented from this book.

There are two behavioral patterns that carry a lot of weight in the court’s decision making process. One is the attitude of the parties towards each other. Communications before and during your litigation should not be abrasive, accusatory, contain false accusations, or any foul language. Just be factual and civil because every note, letter, email, phone conversation, and records of actions will be presented by the other side and can be used against you. These can and will be reviewed by the court appointed psychologist, guardian ad litem, and the judge. The tone and attitude you project from the beginning can either boost or kill your case.

The courts also look closely at the extent to which each parent is willing to support the kid’s relationship with the other parent and keep them informed. This gives the decision-makers an idea as to how each parent may treat the other in the future. Speaking positively about the other parent in the kid’s presence, allowing phone conversations and liberal visitations, (absent of any abuse or vices) are examples of definite boosters. Bashing the other parent and restricting access to children in any way can kill a case.

The Tie That Binds

Kids are the tie that binds former spouses to each other to some degree in the future. Your divorce isn’t the end of a relationship where kids are involved. You’ll be dealing with your ex until your children are adults, and after that to a lesser extent. It’s important for children that both their parents are involved in major life decisions. There will also be graduations, weddings, baptisms, various celebrations, and events where both may be attending and participating.

Moms and dads will have to deal with each other regularly about child support and visitation. There’s no reason divorces and custody battles have to be so messy and painful. Someone has to be the adult in a custody dispute. Why not both parents? S.M.I.LE. – Start making it livable for everyone. Keep what’s best for your kids as your primary concern. You are going to get what you give. If you give your ex a hard time over trivial matters then your time will come. What you hand out is what you’ll get back. Making custody disputes a more civilized process starts with you. Be the adult in the matter.

The best conclusion is to bring your conflict to a workable truce. When you absolutely must litigate, you’ll have the boost your case needs to succeed with these resources and your attorney’s guidance. However your case is resolved, I hope that you’ll reach an attainable, sustainable peace for you and your children. As everyone transitions into a new life, there will be fewer victims and more survivors.