Soon, Christians around the world will celebrate Easter. It is a time of reflection. It is a time of restoration. It is a time of resurrection. During this season, we can learn something important about child custody. Even after a divorce or separation, your children make you a family. Now is as good a time as any to practice rebuilding that unit.
Holidays are a particularly difficult time for most fractured families to get through. Often, without a custody agreement, the parents fight over where the children should be on a holiday. If this is you, it doesn't have to be that way.
First, always approach custody negotiations well in advance of the event. Not only does it give the other parent a chance to think through things, it gives you a chance to seek mediation or court intervention if an agreement can't be made.
Next, have an open mind. While it is tempting to grab all of the important holidays for yourself, think outside the box. Your ex may be desperate for this Easter because an important family member is visiting. Giving in on this point may mean that you get first choice for summer vacation.
Consider sharing or splitting. Every holiday does not have to be an either/or event. You can consider going to church together or letting one parent have the morning while the other has the afternoon and dinner. Creativity is a must.
Finally, remember that your child is always the heart of the family. That means that you should consider the children before considering your own wants. Remember, if you can't figure it out, the court is there to help make decisions. A good lawyer will have many options and ideas available to help you make a smart plan.
There is no reason that your family has to suffer. Resurrecting your family unit doesn't mean it will be the same as it used to be, but it can still be a positive experience for your children.
We've all heard it before- a child needs its mother. This belief is so prevalent that many people understand it to mean that a mother is more important than a father. That's simply not true.
If you want to win at custody without being a Mom, your first step is to step up your parenting. What does that mean? It's simple, it means doing all the things that Moms traditionally do like making doctor's appointments and talking to teachers.
You should also seize your rights. Contact the schools and daycare centers that your children attend and ask for all records to be shared with you. You are a parent, don't wait for your ex to share with you, take charge.
Ask for what you want. If you want joint custody, tell her. If you want Monday and Tuesday nights, ask for it. Do it in writing if necessary so that you have a record of our requests.
Go to court sooner rather than later. If you can't work things out, don't wait. The sooner you file for custody, the sooner you will have a resolution. But, if you are not familiar with the court process, you MUST hire a lawyer.
Fathers can win custody by following the right strategies. Good luck.
I love being a lawyer that brings families together. I have to admit that I have a special place in my heart for active Dads. This short video really touched me and I hope it touched you as well. What don't you know about your parents? #DadLawyer
I love this guy's journey. He is such an inspiration and proof that nothing is impossible. I just wanted to remind everyone today to keep pressing forward.
Look at that picture. That used to be you- happy family, good friends, cute kids. But somehow, it all fell apart and you find yourself where you never thought you would be - in the custody fight of your life. It’s simple really; most of us have a few really primal urges- things we just instinctively care about. For most of us, those include breathing, eating, and sleeping. For parents, that list usually expands to include caring for your children. While we know that people would fight for air in their lungs or food when they are starving, we sometimes forget that people will also fight to the death for their children. The problem is, that when we are in fight mode, we sometimes forget commonsense.
Our inclination is to listen to our friends who seem always willing to give us advice. I would do this, they say or you should do that. However, one piece of advice is especially damning. It is the thing that makes custody battles go on FOREVER. It may even be the reason you LOSE. What is it? Well the worst advice to listen to is this- Don't let the children stay at the other parent's house, Don't let the other parent make any decisions, basically Don't make any compromises. Any version of advice that you get that tells you not to make agreements or compromise with the other parent is HORRIBLE.
One, it makes it almost impossible to effectively create a parenting plan. The best choice is always for the parents to make the custody arrangement without court involvement. The court is NOT flexible. Maybe you two don't agree on anything except that your child should continue to play hockey on the city team. Your ex may work on practice nights and you always do lessons followed by a snack. Not, if you can't agree. Suddenly, you find yourself disrupting plans that you have always had because someone told you not to work with your ex. That's not very smart. You are way smarter than that.
Two, Judges won't like you. Your ex asks for Wednesday nights because he has off on Wednesdays. The Judge thinks this is reasonable. Don't say no, even though you have no reason to, just to fight. The Judge thinks you aren't considering your child and the rest of your case goes south.
Finally, your children really, really don't want you to do that. They love you. They actually love your ex, who we all know is really a secret jerk. The kids don't know. The kids love both of their parents. They love it when you get along. They love it when you are on the same page. They love it when they get to see both of you.
Don't take bad advice from your friends. Take good advice from a lawyer. Learn to compromise. It is surprising how much easier it makes child custody cases.
By Jacquie L. Jones
Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore issues of custody, criminality, and Probate especially in Delaware County, PA.