Here’s why 50/50 shared parenting should be the normal starting point for divorce in this country.
- i was the nurturing parent
- i was the parent responsible for morning routines and get-to-school activities
- i had an optimistic and positive outlook on life
- my emotional variability is a sign of health and resilience
- stoic is not a great parenting quality
- not everything in a family fits on an excel spreadsheet
We negotiated in good faith until the “parent schedule” day arrived in our parenting plan therapy session. Rather than the equal parenting plan we’d been discussing, my then-wife decided to go with her gut. She gutted our agreement and went for the divorce package.
- the kids 70% of the time
- the family house
- over $2,000 month in child support
What’s not to love about those options, am I right? Well, wait a minute.
In The Best Interest of the Children
The Standard Possession Order is not fair or balanced. It’s the defacto schedule that 90% of men get in Texas and across most of the country. There is ZERO justification for this imbalanced plan. BUT, it does fill the coffers of the AG’s offices around the country. Let me explain.
Here’s a handful of the documents I’ve collected about this topic on the Equal Parenting Resources page.
- My Research on Divorce and Fathers: “Equal parenting time is a public health issue.” – Arizona State University professor
- Deadbeat Dad Business is Big Business: Title IV-D Incentives – video
- The Deadbeat Dad “Hoax” Benefits the State and the Divorce Industry – Dr Stephen Baskerville
- Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family – Dr. Stephen Baskerville
- The Sad Saga of Men and Suicide – 2019 The Toronto Sun
- The scientific benefits of a father’s presence in their kid’s lives – Mother.ly
The biggest driver of the imbalance is the AG’s offices themselves. In the 50s, a law was put in place to protect mothers from deadbeat dads who skipped out on their responsibilities. In the old law, states were reimbursed for all of their expenses needed to collect child support. This is still what drives child support and the imbalanced custody forced on over 80% of all divorces. For every dollar an AG’s office has in child support collections, they get a dollar from the federal government to increase staff and resources for ENFORCEMENT.
But here’s the deal, my wife threw our case to the AG’s office, not because she was worried about getting paid. She threw me under the proverbial bus of the collections agency of the state of Texas, because she was mad. She didn’t want to see me happy. She didn’t like that I had been able to afford a small house that could keep both kids and myself dry and fed on the weekends I had them. I’m pretty sure, she just didn’t like seeing me happy. So Child Support can be weaponized too.
I agreed to the child support in our decree. Even though the amount was based on my previous BIG JOB with Dell. I wasn’t making nearly that much money at the time of the divorce, but I was the optimistic one. However, when push came to shove, my ex-wife sent our decree to the AG’s office “for enforcement” when I was one week late on a child support payment. I was transparent about it. My job had lost a major client. I was still working full-time, but I was going to be delayed in getting this month’s payment to you.
Fuck you, she said. And with that, she crushed my house, and my future credit scores (only 12 years to go). And why? Not because she was worried about getting paid. Not because she thought I was hiding money or resources from her. Nope. The only reason she had for throwing me to the wolves, was HER ANGER.
Please Consider 50/50 Shared Parenting
If things had gone as we agreed, my kids would’ve had equal access to me. As it was, my kids got dad every other weekend, and one night on the off weeks. It was 5 – 6 days a month versus 25 days a month. Not fair. Not balanced. And in my kids’ case, not in their best interest. They got stuck with the angry and stoic parent for most of their childhoods. And let’s not even talk about the new husband and his OCD.
Dads are equal parents. If we are treated as servants and paychecks, we will respond accordingly. But, I believe, 100% that my kids would’ve benefitted by having equal time with me after the divorce. They would’ve gotten a more balanced picture of life, struggles, and recovering from hard setbacks. That’s my modus operandi.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | @wholeparent