Who are We Gonna Live With, Mom?

By: Len Stauffenger
Deciding who gets custody of the kids is one of the most important decisions in your divorce. Each of you is thinking "I get the kids!" Well, even if you do get sole custody, they're going to be staying with their other parent some of the time, so you need to decide up front what is in their best interest and put aside "getting even with their other parent." You'll have to discuss this with him/her, so try to set emotion aside and have a rational talk....for the good of your kids.

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. You need to ask yourself some questions too. "Am I going to go in fighting to keep the kids, or is it really in their best interest to stay with their dad part of the time?" 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 they always stayed home with you? Would it be beneficial to come up with a joint custody arrangement? 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.
Motherhood
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