Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sharing

During the first few years following the divorce, my ex-wife and I were awarded joint custody, with the children living primarily in their mother’s house.  However, since we lived in the same town, I was able to house Sharaya and Caleb up to three or four days a week. It was a great arrangement, allowing me to keep them in church on the weekends and stay active with their school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).
However, when my former wife decided to move out of state, things got complicated. At the advice of my lazy lawyer, I had failed to address a “no-moving-out-of-state” clause when negotiating the divorce stipulations.
“We’ll worry about that if it happens” he yawned.
I trusted him and dismissed the idea.
So when the children were suddenly three states away, my ex and I both had to compromise when it came to holidays. We could no longer drive the kids to one another’s home mid-day on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Sharing was hard, especially when minor holidays (i.e. Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day) didn't merit a road trip.
Whether we live close to our child or not, rotating those special occasions will eventually be an issue. We need to emotionally prepare ourselves by having a plan, asking ourself some questions:. Should we rotate every other holiday? What special days do I consider unimportant to be with my child? How does their mother feel about this? What’s my child’s opinion? Discussing these with the ex-spouse is key.
Now its your turn....share your advice for the rest of us. What has worked or not worked for you?