I took the idea of a collaborative divorce to heart. But in the end there was no collaboration. I lost all my issues. All that "collaborative" meant was that I wasn't going to sue my soon-to-be-ex during the negotiations of our divorce.
Divorce should start at 50/50. Shared custody. Shared bills. Shared hardships if one or more of the parents lose a job. Let the individual couples negotiate in Texas from that position, rather than the inequitable position we are presented with today.
The non-custodial parent is treated a bit like a second-class citizen in the legal system. If you want to go for 50/50 divorce parenting, I think you'll need an attorney. I also think it's worth it, if you want to spend as much time as possible with your children.
For me, most of the time and energy has been redirected towards being a great dad and being present for my kids above all else. I'd like a relationship, and I'm still casually working the online dating options, but I'm not in a hurry.
We were both hungry for more time, more head pats. And that's a feeling I still ache with as I watch my children sleeping. Even when they are with me, the knowledge and feeling of the coming loss, just a day or so away, is painful.
And as I forgive my father for his loss of control and family, for the divorce, and for not taking care of himself long enough to see me and my kids. Today, I forgive him, but I am also learning to forgive myself for the failure of my marriage.
In divorce, when you lose everything, what you still have is your kids. And while you are deep into the recovery of your own feelings, paying attention and parenting from a place of wholeness is critical.