The idea of leaving a spouse you just can't stand is incredibly appealing for many people contemplating the end of their marriage. What's a less than an optimal situation to cope with in accomplishing that is that you won't be living with your children every day anymore. It's a reality that can be difficult to process.
For couples with children who have decided to divorce, there's a feeling of loss that comes with becoming a part-time parent as a result of child custody and visitation arrangements. It can be unbearably difficult and make your divorce much more contentious. For parents who can see beyond the norm and work together to find common ground, there may be a way to avoid the feelings of guilt and panic at the thought of being cut from your children's lives.
Keeping you both in your children's lives takes ingenuity
It's common in South Carolina to have an award of joint physical custody with primary placement to one parent and designated liberal visitation to the other. If you can agree to put your children's needs first, this doesn't have to feel like a power struggle with your kids landing in the middle and one of you feeling diminished in their lives.
Keeping the focus on your relationship with your children rather than where things went wrong with your ex can open doors to unconventional ideas that may benefit everyone such as:
- Nesting arrangements. It can be tough to put aside your differences but if you just keep remembering that your goal is to be an equal parent, it just might give you the push you need to get along. One compromise can be to work out an arrangement to keep your kids in a stable home environment they never have to rotate from. Whether you agree to keep the marital residence as their home or one of you buys another home to use, the idea is that you and your ex take turns living with the children. During your off weeks, you can either share an apartment you both take turns living in or get your own separate places. Yes, this takes a level of amicability and cooperation you may not be ready for, but it's really about finding the best solution for your children. You'll just reap the rewards.
- Alternating extended visitation. Even if a judge awards one parent primary placement, that doesn't mean that parent can't agree to modify how the time can be split between both parents. If you both live within a reasonable distance of the children's school it could make sense to alternate having the children live with each of you every week or two rather than shuffling them back and forth for a couple of days at a time. What's best for your children is also likely to result in you each having a better relationship with them, and maybe even each other.
- Family based plans. Typically referred to as parenting plans, the trend is now to put more focus on the needs of the entire family rather than just on the wishes of the parents. After all, kids don't choose divorce and they have traditionally had very little input into which parent they wind up living with or how often they see or speak to their other parent. A 2017 study of preschoolers showed that spending equal time with both parents after separation led to children having fewer behavioral and psychological issues. Maybe you're struggling with going back to school or you've given up hobbies and friends because you feel compelled to stick to the custody and visitation schedule. This could be a good chance to try out a different schedule that may benefit all of you.
Thinking outside the box is sometimes a necessity in certain child custody and visitation situations. When parents are able to remain amicable, they have many more options for figuring out what works best for everyone involved. Sometimes that's not an option because of physical or emotional distance between parents that could result in your child suffering undue stress.
When you need hard-lined decisions made, you may benefit from the caring and knowledgeable experience of child custody attorney, Tom Holland. There may be legal avenues available to resolve whatever strife your custody situation has created. To schedule your confidential consultation for a child custody matter in York, Lancaster, or Chester County in either of Mr. Holland's easily accessible offices in Fort Mill or Rock Hill, call 803-219-2630, or feel free to reach out to him through his contact page.