If you are divorced and have children you may or may not get along with your ex-spouse. You don’t have to socialize with your ex, and you don’t have to like your ex, but you do have to be polite and civil to your child’s other parent. No matter how much you dislike each other, you must deal with each other for the sake of your children until the last child is 18 or 21 years old.
It is best to have a tacit peace agreement with your former spouse. Talk to each other about your children. Let each other know about birthday parties, confirmation plans, visits to the doctor, school progress, and after school activities. Go to school plays. Sit on opposite sides of the room if you have to, but it will mean more to your child if you sit together. It won’t hurt if you (and your new spouse and your stepchildren or your children with your new spouse) to go to dinner or to an amusement park with your first spouse and children. Your children will love you for it.
Parenting Time Should Not Be a War Game.
There is parenting time, but there is not such thing as “makeup time.” Just as a person is not the same person today as he was a year ago, so is he not the same person he was a month ago, a week ago, or even yesterday. You can’t relive those lost moments. Parents, in relating to their children , must live for today, not yesterday. In addition, parenting time is supposed to be qualitative, not quantitative.
A non-residential parent has parenting time with a child so that the child may relate to the parent and vice versa., so the child may take benefit from the parent’s experiences, which are supposed to result in knowledge and wisdom, and so the parent can take joy and pleasure in the child’s growth and accomplishments. While a non-custodial parent should be allowed a reasonable amount of time with a child, the parent who cries “foul” and bases that complaint only on the amount of time he/she has missed is not thinking of the child, but of himself/herself.
A Visiting Parent Versus A Father Or Mother
A visiting parent is someone concerned about the amount of time or number of times he has seen his child. A father or mother is concerned with what the child will talk about with him/her. A visiting parent prohibits a child from going to his baseball game or other activity during the visitation time. A father or mother takes pleasure in the child’s being on the team, and first asks if he or she may come and watch the child play and then does so. A visiting parent schedules activities that make it hard or difficult for the child to do his homework. A father or mother helps the child not only with day-to-day studies, but especially with long-term projects.
The Residential parent’s Responsibilities
The residential parent is not without responsibility. A residential parent who sabotages the other parent’s time by scheduling activities during that time does the child a severe disservice. If an activity arises, be it a school activity, a social event, or a family celebration, such as a wedding that the child will attend, and the event conflicts with the non-residential parent’s parenting time, then consider having the child ask permission from the non-residential parent to attend the event, just as he/she would ask the residential parent for such permission when it is the not the non-residential parent’s time.
Working together Is Best For Everyone
In case of a major trip, the two parents should discuss time, date, itineraries, and other matters, because there are details of such a trip with which a child should not be burdened. There is a degree of planning involved which should not reduce itself to the child carrying messages back and forth.
The bottom line is that divorced parents of children must talk to each other. Today, they will be planning activities with or without each other for school vacation. Tomorrow, they will be planning a child’s wedding. Soon after that, they will want to be invited to visit the grandchildren. You may not be married to each other anymore, but you always will be the parent of your children, and the other parent always will be in the picture.
Want to work out sensible visitation plans and schedules for you and your children? Call us at 516 319-2000, or press the “Contact” button at the top of the page.