Custody of the children is such an important decision when going through a divorce. It's probably the first thing that you thought of, right? "The kids stay with me!" Even if you get sole custody of the kids, sometimes they will be gone on nights and weekends. How are you going to deal with the fact that they may not live with you all of the time? What if they only live with you part of the time? What is really in their best interest? All of these questions are very difficult to answer, but they do need to be addressed, and discussed honestly. Three Key Points to Make Deciding Who Gets Custody Easier My first suggestion is to schedule a time to meet with your ex without the children. Steel your emotions against reacting when you hear his thoughts and feelings. They just might be valid.
I know that might seem impossible, but you will have to remember that everyone involved in the situation is fired up with emotion, so taking the emotion out of the situation will make things go a lot smoother. Prepare yourself. If you know him well enough, you might already know the answers he'd come up with? Does he want the kids to live with him full time or would he really be just as satisfied visiting with them at your place? Also, all you can do is prepare yourself.
Expect that he may say everything that is your worst fear, so you will have to deal with what you will rationally do in the situation. Be honest in asking yourself a few questions also. Is this fight to keep the children just my whimsy or would it really be best for them to stay with their dad occassionally?" I know it hurts to even think about, but you will feel better making the right decision before you meet with your ex. Your next step should be to talk with your children. Have a plan in place, and tell them what you are thinking.
Obviously, this will depend on how old the children are, but you would be surprised how much they really understand even at a young age. Ask them what their feelings are. Have the children only been at home with you or have they been to pre-school or grandma's house? Is a joint custody arrangement in the kids best interest? You do need to take into consideration what your children are feeling, but they are only children at this point. You are still the parent for a reason. If their reason for wanting to live with their other parent is because he or she is more permissive with them, then their role in making this kind of decision has to be minimized and they only get a percentage of one vote. Just remember, no matter what, your kids will always be yours.
These custody situations can be complicated, but with a little effort from both parties, very normal, pleasant environments for the best interest of the children can be achieved. And, by using good thinking processes, you'll also be putting a halt to a potentially devastating second divorce. We don't want you to be a part of that growing statistic.
Len Stauffenger's parents taught him life's simple wisdom. As a divorced dad, he wanted to share that simple wisdom with his girls. "Getting Over It: Wisdom for Divorced Parents," his book, is the solution. Len is an author, a Success Coach and an Attorney. http://www.wisdomfordivorcedparents.com