Don’t Want To Share The Kids?
Four Key Questions You Must Ask Yourself About Custody
Finally, the divorce is in progress and now your husband wants to make your life miserable with his list of demands. He never spent more than two hours with the children when you two were married but now he wants to look good for the courts and request a trillion hours a week. He probably was advised by his attorney to ask for as much time as possible because he won’t get it anyway. So now, the first thought that pops into your head is, “What?” and “Why now?”
The answer is simple: He is entitled to have time with the children. Your husband is entitled just like you to build a relationship with the children. The children are not only your prized possession but his as well. Generally, he is entitled to alternating weekends, alternating holidays, half of the summer vacation and extended time during school breaks (winter and spring). If additional time during the week can be worked out, then he may even ask for one or two for dinner with the children.
What’s so bad about this? If you are confused on whether you should allow your husband access to the children for such long periods of time — perhaps you should do some self-analysis. Ask yourself these questions and explore your reasons deeper (critical thinking):
1. Am I protecting the children? Or am I protecting myself?
2. Will the children be in danger with their father? Or am I being controlling in this situation?
3. What are the benefits of keeping my children from their father?
4. Who loses more at the end of the custody/visitation battle — me? My husband? Our children?
After you have thought these questions through and are comfortable with your answers — try to devise a plan by starting to look at the children’s schedule (school/extracurricular), your schedule and your husband’s schedule. Your husband can request the time he is entitled to but it does not guarantee it will fit into the children’s schedule. If you and your husband can communicate amicably ask him to create a schedule and you both can compare and contrast each other’s schedule. As you both explore the options available to you, do not forget to include time for commuting to and from the designated location.
Example: If your husband has requested a 4 p.m. visit and the children leave school at 3 p.m., calculate how much time it will take to get the children to your husband’s pick-up location unless you both agree that your husband can be responsible for picking up the children. If your husband picks the children up from school — it can save a lot of time and tension between the two of you. It is recommended that you both give each other ample time to devise a visitation schedule and explore alternatives if, the time your husband is entitled to can not be worked out.
Initially, the time he requested may have sounded like a trillion hours but when you actually sit down and calculate how many extra days he is asking for in a year- sometimes it’s only 7 to10 extra days besides the summer vacation.
Moral of the Story:
If what your husband is asking for is reasonable — please give him the opportunity to bond with his children. Do not keep your children away from the other half of their identity.