Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Co-parents Who Get It

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Divorce is never going to be easy.  Two normal people do not get married with the intention of getting divorced.  But circumstances happen, situations change.  The inability to deal with those changes are normally what will lead to the divorce.  And if the process of divorce were perfect, in other words, both spouses were willing to talk rationally, responsibly, and honestly, throughout the process, then of course, there probably would not have been any need for the divorce if they already possessed this ability to communicate.  And when it is one spouse against another, the pitch of conversations is commonly tame, than when children are involved with the divorce process.

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But why should a couple without children, work through a divorce differently, than a couple who has children?  I mean, besides the obvious, the children.  Both spouses will have to discuss assets.  And in theory, take the children out of the equation, those same parents would be in the same situation as the non-children couple.  What is it, that triggers a spouse, in a divorce to react in a more extreme manner for revenge (no matter what caused the marriage to fail)?  If the marriage failed because of money – a couple without children will settle the divorce even with a bitter spouse.  But with children, no matter the reason for the divorce, a spouse would be expected to be bitter, yet the non-children couple will not seek the revenge that a couple dealing with custody issues would face.  What is it exactly about children in a marriage that allows, promotes, and encourages a parent in the middle of a divorce to believe that divorcing a spouse means you divorce your children, also referred to as parental alienation?

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We can all agree, that recipient of divorce papers would be considered normal, if they were upset.  One person finally has enough of a situation, and reluctantly files for divorce, may not have the level of emotion being dealt with by the spouse who received the divorce papers.  And in time, those feelings under normal circumstances will subside.  No, the pain does not go away, but it should not escalate.  Spouses without children, potentially have no reason to ever see or hear of each other again.  Parents will see each other for the rest of their lives.

A divorce is just that, between spouses.  But parents do not divorce.  But there is an extra step or two involved in the divorce process, that in the perfect world should not be necessary.  Parents do not divorce.  Mother will always be mother, and Father will always be father.  Both are equal and should have equal time, should still maintain a unified goal with the schooling, faith building, protection, and of course, memory sharing.

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When one parent has the child (or children), unless it is a special event (such as confirmation, graduation), the parent not having time with the child, clearly will lose opportunities for memories.  There are likelihoods that birthdays will be missed, school functions, extracurricular events, and other achievements will be missed by at least one parent.

I chose to write this post after seeing a Facebook post by someone that I know personally.  She had gone through a divorce in recent years.  I do not know the particulars as to what caused the divorce, nor is it any of my business.  But there are ties between our families that leave me with an interest with the children.  But I saw a photo posted, not one that was taken by the parent without the custody of the child, but by the parent had the current custody of the child, and actually shared it with the other parent.  This is not the first time I have seen this.  I have a friend locally who also lives quite a distance from his children, and he also gets photos of his children, when he is not able to be with them.

I know nothing of their custody agreements, and I will not speak personally about mine.  But if you look at a typical custody agreement, other than the actual visitations, there are clauses that just seem plain sad, that often need to be put on paper, but clearly do not belong.

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What does it say to a parent, about a parent, that it needs to be put in writing, to:

*  share photos

*  make sure the other parent is included in medical decisions

*  involve the other parent in educational evaluations and issues

*  allow uninhibited communications between children and both parents

*  prevent a hostile environment towards the other parent, especially by others

Seriously, what is it about children in the divorce process, that makes them a part of the process?  Look at the above “recommendations.”  To see them on paper is inflammatory, and they are implied by the very system that claims to want to protect the rights of the children.  If you have to have these written into an agreement, then clearly, you suspect there is going to be a problem with one parent complying.  And instead of dealing with that as the issue, the ability to co-parent willingly, the child often will get caught in the tug-of-war between one parent who just wants to co-parent, and the other parent who only wants to get even for filing for the divorce.  The crazy thing is, there is no reason ever, for seeking revenge for filing for divorce, especially at the expense of a child.  If you dig deep for the root cause, there will almost always be a mutual cause, whether or not the other spouse acknowledges it is the issue.  And it has nothing to do with the children.  Why make it their problem?

There will always be a “cheering” section giving their “professional advice.”  And because they may be closer to the vengeful parent, that parent will clearly believe what they are saying, because it is being reinforced, that they are doing the right thing.  But that gallery also has no interest in what is best for the children.  They are only on the side of revenge-seeking spouse.  And their comments will only be directed as such.

Children have no role in the divorce process itself.  To keep a child from a parent for no reason or cause between that child and the parent, is called alienation.  Parental alienation is child abuse.  It is time that is taken away from not only the parent affected, but more importantly, the child who is almost never given a voice, will grow up devastated.  And that time can never be replaced.

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When you are divorced, you no longer have to be husband and wife.  But if you have children between you, you still have to be the mother and the father.  And no one outside of the immediate family, the children and the mother and father should have anything to say about it.

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