Dealing with Divorce 4 Part EBook Series: Your Children (Part 2) by Galbraith Family Law - HTML preview
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Chapter 1: When Will I See My Kids?
Kids have a right to love both parents. Give them the opportunity.
Children need a meaningful relationship with both parents.
Park your ego. This is about what is best for your children. Children need consistency and predictability, so a consistent arrangement works best.
A Family Specialist can help you develop a time-sharing arrangement that works for your family and recognizes your child’s personal and developmental needs. Usually the Family Specialist is part of the Collaborative Process, which is an effective way or resolving issues without having to go to court.
Be flexible when special events or opportunities for the children to participate in an activity arises. As the children mature and their needs change, you may have to change the time-sharing arrangements.
Custody determines how major decisions about the children will be made. It does not relate to the amount of time each parent spends with the kids. Joint custody means both you and your spouse will make the major decisions together. Sole custody means only one parent will make the major decisions and the other parent has the right to information about the kids.
Major decisions include non-emergency health care decisions, the school they will attend, religious training they will be exposed to and activities they will be involved in.
The-day-to-day decisions are in the hands of the parent caring for them at the time. There is a trend towards joint custody, as many believe that children benefit from having both parents involved. Although it may be difficult to imagine working cooperatively with your spouse, it usually happens in time. If your situation is a high conflict case then perhaps sole custody is appropriate. The reality is that your parenting will evolve over time regardless of the title you use.
Many spouses choose to divide the time spent with the children. Often, it is one week with each parent.
In this case, social workers advise that the best transition day is Sundays, as Monday is a structured school day.
In other arrangements, children reside primarily at one home and spend time with the other parent on a regular basis, such as every second weekend and one day during the week.
Clubs, Sports and Interests
You and your spouse must find a realistic balance between the children’s school and extra-curricular activities, your work schedules and your availability to care for the children. Whatever you decide, it's important to maintain consistency and predictability for the children sake. What about the holidays?
Children enjoy the prospect of celebrating a special occasion twice, so don’t focus on having special occasions twice: two birthdays, two Christmases, two Easters and two Thanksgivings. So, don’t worry about having the particular day. It will work out.
Sometimes summer vacation is divided equally, for example, two weeks alternating. While others will agree that the regular time-sharing regime will apply but each will get two or three weeks of vacation time with the children upon certain notice. You may agree that Father’s Day is with father and Mother’s Day is with mother or you may just ignore these days and let them fall in accord with the regular schedule.
Some feel it is important to see their child on their birthday each year and make special provisions. Others celebrate birthdays whenever their child is with them.
What if My Spouse isn’t Cooperating?
Remember to treat your spouse as you would like them to treat you. Although your spouse may not always reciprocate, always take the high road and do the right thing for your children’s sake.
Flexibility is important even with a consistent and predictable schedule. If special opportunities arise that would benefit your children, you may trade some time with your spouse. For example if your spouse’s parents have tickets for the children to attend a show, trade that night for another night so the kids can attend the special event.