A little victory in single parenting is when your angry co-parent does something nice. It rarely happens. It is usually motivated by something they want from me, but… Still… In all the dreams I had of being a great co-parent, this woman prevented me from having that opportunity at every inflection point. She went for blood. She went for her pound of flesh. She might still be angry. Ho hum.
What’s Important to Remember as a Co-parent
You’ve got kids. Here are a few considerations when contemplating your roles and responsibilities as a parent. Divorce does not change your responsibility. Divorce should not change the love for your co-parent. If there is rageful anger and shame around the divorce and your ex, please get some outside help. Hurting your co-parent with adverse actions is bad for everyone. It is most damaging to the parent who vents and spits all the time.
Here’s the truth about divorce.
- It was not HIS fault or HER fault.
- If it’s collaborative, you still need lawyers
- If you really care about “the best interest of the children” you wouldn’t try and limit your future co-parent’s access to the kids.
Striking out at your ex-husband or ex-wife is never the best option. Anger and rageful actions damage everyone in the family. You cannot score a deep burn against your co-parent and not expect there will be blowback toward your kids.
Let’s Find the Balance in Divorce
If you’ve got kids together, you’re going to be dealing with each other for the rest of your lives. Get that straight. A quick damaging blow today will resonate with everyone for the rest of your lives together. My ex-wife lied about wanting a “collaborative divorce.” My ex-wife took action against me to hurt me. My ex-wife still takes actions all the time that are damaging to my relationship with our kids together. It makes no sense. If she’s mad about this blog, let her write her own damn side of the story.
Today, having kids is a lifetime responsibility. And when you are negotiating the beginning of unprotected sex together, let’s all agree on one thing: we are parenting 50/50 forever. If divorce begins with the mom getting 70% of the time with the kids, there is no friendly negotiation possible, as long as one of the divorcing parents wants to hurt their future ex-husband. Believe this: dads are just as important as moms in raising healthy kids. Any lawyer, counselor, or family court that tells you differently is lying. They’ve got a different motive. What’s best for the kids is having equal access to BOTH PARENTS. PERIOD.
We’ve got to find a way in the United States to equalize divorce. If my ex-wife had not been promised the “divorce brochure” from her initial attorney meeting, she might have been less gungho for divorce.
50/50 Shared Parenting Schedules
Here’s an explanation of 50/50 shared parenting provided by a family law firm.
An equally shared parenting plan consists of 182.5 days a year with each parent. This is what people often refer to as a 50/50 parenting plan. Both parents under this plan share equal parenting time with regard to their children. Consider the following examples:
- Alternating weeks. With this option, each parent simply rotates their responsibility every other week.
- 5-2-2-5 splits. With this option, each parent alternates their responsibility throughout the week and weekend (Friday through Monday).
- 3-4-4-3 splits. This schedule gives each parent the same 3 days each week with one day (usually a weekend day) which swaps back and forth every week.
Equal parenting schedules don’t have to be rigid. Parents can create some really elaborate scheduling that helps everyone to enjoy needed flexibility. No matter which option is chosen, it’s really important for the parent to have clothing and personal effects at each home so the child feels like they are welcome.
I believe if you parented together you should continue that loving and inclusive process even if you’re no longer married to one another.
When I brought in my resources, books, and calendar markups for our 50/50 schedule discussion I was nearly laughed out of the room. I’m not sure there wasn’t some collaboration before I came into the meeting with our “parenting schedule therapist.” As she told me, after taking me into another room to deal with my disappointment and upset, “If you guys go to court, she’s going to get the custodial parent role, the house, child support, and most of the time with the kids.”
That’s how divorce starts. “She’s going to get most of the time with the kids.” To me, everything else was negotiable. Child support is fine! House to the mom, fine! But why should I be forced to pay over $2000 per month, with two kids, for the next 8 and 10 years?
Dads are literally dying over these hardships. Dads give up after divorce when they don’t have enough time with their kids. Or, maybe they have to move for employment to keep up with the child support payments. Divorce is often harder on dads. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
My Idealistic Divorce Dream
If we can agree that kids need both parents equally, we can have a simple discussion of how to make that balanced parenting plan together. It’s a mutual goal. It’s for the kids.