My role now is very similar to my non-custodial dad role. I don't have a lot of time or opportunities to engage with my kids. I have to reach out. Keep reaching out. And let go of any outcome.
After 11-years, my child support has been paid and my two children have launched from their mom's house. I am rebuilding for time lost with some success. What I lost I can never regain. What I can hope for is that my future years are going to be the best part of my relationship with my two kids.
It will take a long time for me to rebuild my relationship with the kids, but I will. And they will know the story of this angry divorce saga over time. They will ask about "what happened?" They will ask about the lies.
My belief is moms and dads should agree that they will both ask for 50/50 custody in the case of a divorce. My agreement is more of a set of vows. I have not written a legally binding contract, like a pre-nuptial, that governs the money in the case of the divorce. I have written an agreement that governs the promise between the two parents to share the love and parenting of their children in a balanced way for the rest of their lives.
I don't have to get it right, here, or anywhere. Somedays I'm angry about the divorce. Other days, I see how my ex-wife released me from her sphere of influence, and for this I am grateful.
My ex-wife is pressing me for money, not because she needs it, not because she thinks my son needs it, but because her brain is wired to think about money first, before all else.
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.