It’s All About the Kids
Unless you are completely devoid of emotion the prospect of divorce will always be a daunting concept.
Where am I going to live? Will there be enough money? Whose side will our friends take? And most important and worrying of all…what about the kids?
How many times have we heard it said, “we’re staying together for the children” or “we will separate when they get to an appropriate age”?
The fact of the matter is that neither of those statements hold any credence if the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Children are susceptible to a bad atmosphere and in the sad event that there are heated arguments (even after bedtime) the toxicity will affect them adversely at almost any age.
In the 21st century divorce courts are more inclined than ever before to recognise that after divorce children continue to need the love, guidance and security of both parents and will work with the parties to ensure this happens.
Under Minnesota law there are two types child of custody:
Legal Custody relates to issues pertaining to raising the child, education, health care and religious upbringing. Joint Legal Custody means that both parents take responsibility for these issues. It is presumed that parents can work together on these issues, except in extreme circumstances.
Physical Custody refers to routine day to day activity and where the child lives. Joint Physical Custody means that the lifestyle is structured by both parents. It does not necessarily mean equal time sharing, but it does acknowledge to active, involved parents.
While there is no obligation by the court to be represented by a lawyer in a custody hearing it is imperative that you get the best possible legal advice and at Barbara J May Law Office we have experts that can help you get the best results in what can be a contentious situation.
Of course, the ideal is for Joint Custody, with the right planning and cooperation this has got to be the best for the children. However, there are some hard and fast rules that should be observed.
- Never “bad mouth” your ‘ex in front of or to your kids. They don’t want to play favorites, they love Mom and Dad.
- Don’t play the spoiling game by being a “Disneyland” mom or dad. You can’t buy affection and it can cause friction with the ex who will be expected to do the same.
- Stick to similar routines at both homes- if, at all, possible. Agree on bedtimes, homework schedules, special treats, eating habits etc.
- When dropping off or collecting keep contact with your ex “short and sweet”, this will ensure far less tension on the “swap over”.
- Take time in introducing new partners, filter them in slowly and let them try and built their own exclusive relationship.
Even if you observe every bit of advice, bend over backwards to be affable and spend what seems like a lifetime “biting your tongue” the early stages of co-parenting are going to be emotionally trying and sometimes really difficult to stick with but if the end results are happy, healthy well-adjusted offspring that will make it all worthwhile and will be your biggest reward.