One of the hardest things in Divorcing, or just even separating from an ex for a parent is the thought that they now have to share their time with their children. That now they may not see their children as much as they had in the past, surely it does not help prevent resentment towards their ex-counterpart from growing, in fact it does the opposite.
I remember being told as I sat in family court once that the ticket to get in is not currency based, but anger. It didn’t resonate with me then, but boy does that hit a nerve with me now, because it’s one hundred percent accurate.
Don’t get me wrong,
in rare cases ex-couples can come up with a parenting agreement and may just be bringing it to court to have it formally recorded,
and if you are that rare couple then you’re a better person than I am.
We are parents, we have been since the day our children were born.
As they took their first breath,
we took our last gasp of an easy,
and within seconds our lives were consumed by the little squishy alien looking excuse for a child.
Call it parental instinct,
call it what you may,
but our number one job after that point in time is to protect our child,
whatever may be a possible threat.
Well sometimes our perceptions are skewed,
especially in instances like separation or divorce.
As humans we often think that because we feel a certain way,
everyone else must automatically feel the same way.
I often visit such thoughts when I am driving, and I pass a hearse, here I am having a great day, my children in the back seat laughing, and just feet away from us, is a corpse on their way to their final resting place. Following behind said deceased person is a family, and surely friends going through what may be the saddest, hardest, moment in their life.
Yet, here we are all on the same road way, all driving in the same direction, all feeling different emotions, sure the hearse driving next to me is not carrying my loved one but when a couple divorces, the children aren’t experiencing the loss that the couple is either, they are simply along for the ride.
Children get caught in the middle all too often feeling as if they need to choose a size. They love both of their parents equally, and have no reason to feel impartial to one over the other. Try not to entertain a game of tug of war when it comes to your stepchildren, your ultimately your spouse’s place to vent, and although it is great to listen and just allow them to get their feelings out, it’s important to try to be the voice of reason especially when it is regarding the best interest of the children at hand. I always found it best to stay out of it, but sometimes that is the equivalent of witnessing a robbery and doing nothing to prevent it. If you can help prevent further damage, than do so. If you don’t feel that you can get involved without being biased than don’t. The last thing your spouse needs is someone pouring fuel on the fire.
When it comes to visitation, and custody no two cases are ever the same. What may have been set for one family, may be impossible for another family. Visitation, and custody vary from case to case, depending on what is in best interest for the children. An important factor to remember when it comes to any family court case is that no matter what the case is, as long as the parent is willing and able to see the children, and not a risk factor to the children, than accommodations should be arranged to do so. It is important for the children to have a strong relationship with each parent.
Step parents really only have one role when it comes to the custody and visitation battle, and that is to stay out of it. No matter what the emotional role that you play in your step children’s life may be, the court is very easy to view the step parent as a road block. One may even be accused of trying to alienate the biological parent. If your presence must be there, do so in a silent manner. It is really best to allow your spouse and their ex to duke it out on their own.
When a visitation agreement is concluded, abide by it, and encourage your spouse to do the same. It can be very tempting to start re-arranging dates to accommodate your needs, and family functions, but ensuring consistency is the most important thing, especially in the beginning.
Thanks for reading, have a question? Comment? want to vent? Please do so below!
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best