Two friends once sat at a table, sharing a dinner. Both were a year or so fresh off their divorces and settling into the idea in their own ways. The difference between these two friends was that one had gone through his divorce before having children, and the other had a young daughter and the requisite custody agreement.
The father asked his friend, “So, if you want to, you never have to, ever again, as long as you live, ever speak to your ex wife again?”
“That’s right,” the friend replied.
“Is that as awesome as it sounds?” the father asked.
“I won’t lie to you,” his friend said, “It’s absolutely great.”
Green with envy for his friend’s clean separation from his ex, the father went through in his head, all the arguments he had with his ex wife, and all the disagreements they faced. Then he shifted his thoughts to his young daughter’s laugh, and how much she enjoyed coming to see him. He thought about the times when he and his ex wife would take their daughter out to lunch, or be able to sit together at school functions.
He realized it wasn’t so bad being co-parents. Afterall, the two of them had made a pretty awesome kid together — and that’s to be respected.
While going through a divorce with children involved, many parents forget the fact that no matter what papers are filed, or what unions are dissolved — the two of you made these children together. No matter what, you will always be connected to one another through your mutual love of your kids.
This connection will be there no matter what, so it doesn’t make sense to hash out an agreement that looks like Cold War era Berlin. You cannot be an effective parent looking over a wall.
So many clients will negotiate these custody agreements like a war of attrition, when they should be looking at it as a pact. Your children are as much a part of your ex as they are you. It only makes sense that you would raise them together, as a team. Even if you’re no longer married, you’re still on the same team as your kids — with the same goal.
Working as co-parents, instead of rival factions, will show your children they are loved, even though their parents aren’t together. When drafting your custody agreement, look at it from the perspective of “what will be the best for my kids” and not “what do I want.” Look at what would be the most harmonious and beneficial situation for your kids.
You and your ex are in this together for the long haul. The two of you can spend the rest of your life hating one another and showing your kids that they’re the more mature parties in this; or you can work together and keep on raising your awesome kids as a team.
Just like the father at that dinner table realized, it’s not about your ex or what happened in the past. It’s about your kid’s future.
Drafting a custody agreement is not easy. You deserve an attorney that can handle your case with the care, respect, and sensitivity you and your children deserve. Use our Contact Us page to speak with one of our attorneys who can guide you through the custody process the right way,