Every parent who enters into a divorce feels a need to do what is best for their children. You understand on a basic level that what you are going through is difficult but what your child is going through may be even more difficult. The fact is that divorce is not easy on anyone least of all on a child who has no context and no knowledge of how long a divorce lasts or the type of life he or she will be able to lead after the divorce. Simply put, it's tough. Divorce is tough there's no two ways about it and I'm not going to sugarcoat the process for you. Odds are, you didn't need me to.
Divorce means quite a bit to every person who goes through the process, but I think it means even more to someone who has children. We as parents, from the moment our kids are born, go through life with a different understanding about What our life is and what it needs to be. Whereas before we may have struggled to put others first or to put aside differences with people in our lives having a child does something remarkable to wear, we are much more willing to put the needs of someone else in front of us.
When you begin a divorce case the possibilities, both good and bad, in relation to your divorce seem endless. You are not exactly sure which direction your case is going to go in or how long it is going to take. Hopefully you have been able to set aside some time with your attorney to develop some goals and a set about creating some methods for you to be intentional about achieving those goals. the reality of a divorce is once a case gets going it is very difficult to find the time to adjust your strategy with the same level of detail as you applied before your case began.
Then, once your case is underway, something tends to happen to the way that you think and approach problems. I think most of us would consider ourselves to be fairly rational in reasonable people. We approach problems using our experiences and knowledge of the world to determine likely outcomes and then set to achieve a desired outcome using the most straightforward methods possible. this is how we attack problems both big and small in our lives.
However, a divorce tins to do something to even the most rational people where a divorcing person tends to lose a little grip on reality and therefore has more trouble identify potential problems and working them out to create solutions. The problems in a divorce are difficult enough as it is before you even add into the equation how your spouse will or will not be willing to work with you to solve those problems. When a family law attorney tells you that a divorce could go any direction This is what he or she is referring to. There is a great deal of uncertainty and divorce even if you think you have a plan in place that is going to work well for you and your family.
Now we get back to your children. We have already established that it is very likely that your number one goal in the divorce is to take care of your kids and to maintain a relationship with them. The trouble with this goal is everything else we have just finished talking about tends to come up with in the course of a divorce. While your money, your property, anger with your spouse, and a desire to seek some degree of retribution for harm caused to you by yourself are not as important of goals as protecting your children are and it's possible to lose sight of your number one goal due to the many distractions in a divorce.
Make no mistake: for most parents any issue not dealing with their children is a distraction. They are important distractions, distractions that you should pay attention to. However, I'm willing to bet you that you would not think that these issues are near as deserving of your time as anything having to do with your children. The question you need to ask, if you agree with this idea, is how can you work to ensure that your children are put first during and after your divorce? Many a good parents have lost track of their priorities and focused too much on a subject that was not related to what is in the best interest of their kids.
The end result of a divorce where your focus isn't squarely on the best interest of your children Is one where you may be more financially secure than you otherwise would have been, but you have lost important parenting time with your kids or you can feel harm suffered by your relationship with your kids. It is possible to go back and modify a final decree of divorce in many different ways but the time lost and the emotional output of a family law case can be such that you can never recover wholly from a divorce that went awry.
In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan I would like to take some time to talk with you about how you can best put your child first both during your divorce and afterwards. Some of what I am going to talk about can be accomplished by you on your own as an individual parent. However, be prepared that much of what I am going to discuss with you requires a concerted and diligent effort to coparent after your divorce and negotiate with your spouse during the divorce. Hey, nobody said it would be easy, right?
Putting your child first during the divorce
The key to putting your child first during the divorce is to set about some goals for yourself in relation to your children at the beginning of your case and then seek to accomplish those goals in an intentional manner. What do I mean by intentional from my experiences in working with many people who have gone through divorces, I find that nobody wanders into a successful divorce result. Many people wander into an unsuccessful divorce, but very rarely do you see someone lackadaisically achieve great success in a divorce without having a plan and then going about achieving that plan through diligence and intentionality.
For example, you may believe that you are the parent who is in the better position to be the primary conservator of your children. That's great. It means that you have confidence in yourself is apparent in an understanding of your relationship with your children. It also likely means that you have a job that allows you to be flexible with your time and a history of caring for your children and not really providing for them financially. All these factors lead into you being in a great position to be a primary conservator.
If you truly believe that you are best suited to be the primary conservator of your children, Then You have to be able to have the backbone necessary to fight for that right. I will be clear here: if you are a father who believes that you should be primary conservator of your children After the divorce then you should be prepared to meet with some significant resistance from yourself. Anecdotally, mothers are more frequently named primary conservator of children in a divorce than father's are. This doesn't mean that mothers are better appearance and fathers what it means is that mothers more readily take on that responsibility and more aggressively pursue that goal in a divorce. If you are a dad and want to put your children first, then you should stick to your guns and pursue goals in the divorce that you believe are in their best interests.
From a relational perspective during the divorce, you can put your children first opportunity you have to spend time with them. A big part of the divorce transition that you and your family will go through is that rather quickly you will be put into temporary orders where your children Have their time split between you and your spouse in some form or fashion. As a result, you will not be able to see your children whenever you want as you did when everyone lived together. This is the reality for you and yourself to begin to transition your kids into a lifestyle where you share custody.
Even though your life may be extremely hectic right now and you may feel stressed to the max it is important that your children understand that they come first in your life. This means that you should take every opportunity you have to spend time with your kids and use that time wisely. Put away your phone when you're with your kids. I hear from parents a lot that their kids are obsessed with the cell phone. I would disagree with this. Your kids are not obsessed with your cell phone: they're obsessed with you. Take the time necessary to devote yourself to your children when they are with you.
I understand that it is difficult for you not to be able to spend as much time with their kids as you would like. That is certainly something that would cause me a great deal of unease were I to find myself in your situation facing a divorce. However, if you focus on your kids when they're with you and push for post-divorce orders that are in the best interest of your children then you can rest assured that you are putting your kids first during your divorce case. This is true no matter what else comes up along the way.
How to put your kids first after the divorce
This is where working with your ex-spouse comes into play. Given that your divorce is now over you have little choice but to coparent with your ex-spouse as best as you can. Just because you all are no longer married does not mean that there is no obligation to work with him or her as best you can to put your children first period this means that you both need to be civil with one another as much as possible. Yes, the kids understand that you all are no longer married but they do not need to see their mom and dad fight at every opportunity they get. Instead, you can work with your ex-spouse to present a united front when it comes to a range of different subjects, most notably discipline.
The other way that I would point out to you that you and your ex-spouse can put your children first after the divorce is to be flexible with one another. For example, if your ex-spouse has to go away for a weekend to care for an ailing parent it would make sense for you to be willing to switch weekends with him or her so that he or she can be away with their parent. Remember that the final decree of divorce contains orders which you are bound to follow unless the two of you can work together on a compromise. Working together in this way any beneficial for your kids and is sure to show them that you are putting them first after the divorce.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about Texas family law and about the services that our office provides to our clients. We appreciate your interest in our blog and hope that you will join us again tomorrow as we post more unique content.