Happy New Year (Every Year)

Happy New Year!! This is always a time for New Year’s resolutions. I know I am promising to go to the gym but this year I am going to make a promise to myself that will impact the lives of those I love or used to love. I am promising to be cordial to my children, my EX and his wife, to strangers and those at work. I know it won’t be easy, in fact, it will be a challenge, but the effect on others, as well as me, will make a lasting change.

Will you join me? Promise to not speak ill of your EX in front of your children; don’t use your children as messengers but call, text, or email your EX directly; appreciate that your EX is a good parent even though they were not the best life partner for you; pay your child support on time so your kids benefit (thinking you are hurting your EX by holding back the payment is lame because your EX no longer cares about you); say “Hello” to the EX when you pick up your children- that’s it- no other conversation- just cordial and your children will benefit and learn from your actions; and last, but certainly not least, is be kind to yourself- forgive yourself for whatever you did or think you did to cause the divorce because divorce doesn’t fall on just one person’s shoulders (this does not include incidents of abuse of any kind- abusers are totally to blame).

Each year make a renewed resolution to be cordial. You will be surprised at how happy you will feel and the sadness of divorce will slowly dissipate.


Show Me The Money

Remember that famous line from Jerry McGuire- “Show me the money.” It seems that many parents want 50/50 joint physical custody because they don’t want to pay child support. They want the money to stay in their bank account rather than that of the other parent. But…what about the “best interests” of the  child? Does it make sense to shift a child back and forth between two homes, make them get up at the crack of dawn so that you can drive them to school on your way to work? Do you have dedicated personal space for your child (their own bedroom) and do you have a PERMANENT address? Children do best with stability and divorce has already made their life unstable, and now you want to gouge your EX in the (you name the body part) just to prove you can.

The actions you take should (and must) be all about your children….. that is a simple concept.  You want joint custody, wait until you child is in middle school and then ask your child what s/he wants. Child support can be adjusted, the damage you do to a young child by joint physical custody cannot be undone.

For some parents, who live close to each other and can communicate with each other nicely, joint physical custody may work. But not when you have a young child or a child who is in therapy because of the divorce. Most divorced parents can barely speak a kind word to each other (that is really sad for your kids) so skip joint custody until the kids are a little older.

Want something to take to the bank? Try your child’s happiness!

Holiday Peace

Did you spend Thanksgiving arguing about which house your child would eat dinner at and how s/he would arrive and leave?  If so, then you deserve to have gained weight and have an upset stomach. Agree in advance, through a parenting plan, how you both will handle holidays. Start off with the premise (and promise) that this plan is designed to make your child happy and if it makes you happy that’s a bonus. Stop pulling your child like  s/he’s the turkey wishbone.

When our children were born we just wanted to be the best parents and make their lives perfect. When we get divorced, we just want to make our lives perfect and who cares if we’re good parents…it’s all about us. Go back to that first day and be the best parents you can be for the child you brought into the world.

It’s not too late to make this a better Christmas for your child.