Divorce is never easy. Typically emotions run high and more often than not there are several issues that are somewhat contentious. If you add small children to the mix-it can really get messy. Here’s the thing, though-you can roll up your sleeves and roll around in the dirt when it comes up to dividing up assets and debts, but you shouldn’t when it comes to making decisions regarding parenting time with your children. I’m a divorce attorney, but I’m a parent too. I’ve also done guardian work in the past, and let me tell you how you treat your spouse during your divorce is going to have a huge impact on your kids. Please understand there are MANY reasons why one parent should be awarded full custody of a child: abuse, neglect, addiction, etc., etc., but if none of this applies to your situation, here are some tips from me to you-if you are going through a divorce, or contemplating one:
* DO NOT bad mouth your spouse in front of your children. It will come out to a guardian or the court eventually and its just devastating to a child;
* Do what’s fair for your children, not what you think is fair to you. All the experts agree that a lot of time with both parents is what’s best for your child. Make it work-rearrange your golf schedule or ladies night out. Heck, move closer to your spouse if you need to, but foster a good relationship between your children and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Your children will thank you for it later;
* Don’t try to push for a 50/50 split of time just so you don’t have to pay child support. If you make more than your spouse you are likely going to have to pay something anyway. While you were married more of your paycheck supported your child than your spouse’s, it shouldn’t be any different once you are divorced;
* Don’t just NOT bad mouth your spouse, foster a good relationship between your children and your ex-spouse. Help them make a father’s day or mother’s day card. Help them go Christmas shopping for their other parent. It doesn’t matter whether you hate your ex-spouse or not, your child will remember how selfless you were one day.
Some of you may read this and say wow what a pushover-she wouldn’t fight for my right to take custody of my child. And if you don’t have a good reason to-re-read the first paragraph above-you’re exactly right-I won’t. I care too much about your kids-you should too.