It’s Father’s Day. There’s a difference between being a father and being a Dad. A Dad is there for his kids. He takes full advantage of seeing is children and he takes full advantage of talking to his children. Sure I know that you’re tired after a long week at work or maybe you’re working a second job to support your children but those are adult issues. Kids only know that they see you or hear from you. They only know that you take the time to ask about their day and share parts of your life with them. To your kids you are the most important man in the world.
But your EX is a horrible person that you can’t stand to see. Wow, that’s original! Divorce does not mean divorcing your kids. Can’t stand to see your EX then make arrangements to do a kid exchange at McDonald’s were making a scene would make her look like a jerk. Get your kids in the car before you engage in a limited conversation and that conversation should be “I’ll text you later.” Use a parenting text service and keep all of your communication through that service. If possible, arrange to have a relative pick up or deliver your kids. If you have to pick up the kids at their house, then ring the bell and wait for them outside (always be cordial to their Mom- hello goes a long way in front of your kids). Your kids are watching you and listening to you and it’s important for you to set a good example because your kids will carry that message all of their lives.
This Father’s Day be a Dad. Put your phone down because no message or phone call is more important than your children.
This Father’s Day be a Dad. Have patience with your children because they are learning from you how to be loving and responsible people.
Happy Dad’s Day.
Visitation is an odd word for being with one’s children. You aren’t visiting with the kids, you were being with them, parenting them, supporting them as they grow. The new term of art is parenting time and child access both of which still sound so formal and distant. No matter how distant the words sound, the key is to be a parent in every sense of the word.
Being a parent means showing up at soccer games, applauding the Oscar-winning performance at the school play or dance recital, lending a shoulder to cry on, and providing advice on how to maneuver the social pitfalls of today’s Facebook and other social sites, and being there to snap photos of your son or daughter in their school prom best. Being a parent means you’re there at the birth, the graduation ceremony, the wedding, and the birth of grandchildren. You make each occasion about your children and not your divorce.
If you can’t stand your former spouse, stand on the other side of the room, sit a few tables away at the reception, but do offer to share the costs of receptions and graduations because you’re a parent and not a “show-off.” Slip your kid a few extra bucks, not just child support.
You and your former spouse created this wonderful child and your child loves you both. Every event doesn’t need to be a challenge or a recitation of past grievances, be a parent.
I am often asked, “Do I need a lawyer, it’s so expensive.” The answer to that question is yes and no- I hear you laughing, “that’s a lawyer’s answer.” True!
Are you comfortable with public speaking? Can you communicate your ideas clearly? Have you taken advantage of your court’s self-help center? Are you organized? Have you Googled divorce, alimony, and child support to begin educating yourself? Can you speak to your soon to be Ex so that you can resolve issues? If you answered no, you need a lawyer.
Do you own a home? Do you have children? Are you disabled or have a serious illness? Do you have a retirement plan or a complicated financial history? Are you over the age of 50? If you answered yes, you need a lawyer.
BUT, you may not need a lawyer for every step of your divorce. You can hire a lawyer to perform only certain tasks or draft certain documents, or just advise you as you move forward with your divorce. This type of limited representation will reduce your legal costs while providing you with support.
The most effective way to reduce your legal expenses is to create a Marital Separation and Property Settlement Agreement and BE REASONABLE. Zillow is not the actual value of your home, the black velvet painting of Elvis is not worth as much as you think, and you may not be entitled to alimony no matter that s/he was unfaithful. You will need an attorney to help you through the drafting and negotiation of the agreement but you will reduce your costs if you come prepared and willing to settle with your soon to be Ex.
A divorce is the ending of a “business transaction” so don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. A divorce is more time consuming that researching your next car or your kid’s college so be ready to put in the time or live with the results.
Don’t Kill the Messenger means the messenger is not the party responsible for the bad news your receiving. However, in divorce and custody/visitation, we kill the messenger each time we ask our child to deliver a message to the other parent. See if this sounds familiar to you: “Your mother should not tell you to deliver that message to me. You should not be put in the middle so next time you see her, tell her that!”
Hate to speak to your EX- then use this free app: talkingparents.com
Don’t put your kids in the middle of your battle because it “killing” their relationship with you.