On the heels of my previous rant… This comment is another which angered me:
“The parent with a greater percentage of custody should be the one to make all decisions regarding the kids.”
(What?!?!) The number of overnight visits should neither negate nor justify the rights of either party to act in a parental capacity. The notion that the primary custodial parent can make decisions without regard for his/her co-parent’s wishes is …(immature, irresponsible, unethical?)… wrong.
This illustrates the necessity of a parenting plan. Without one (a detailed one), co-parents are free to make assumptions such as the one above. Doesn’t it make more sense to have the Rule Book agreed upon prior to the start of the game (or, at least as close to the beginning as possible)? It’s important to note from the start who picks the school and who picks the religion and what negotiation process will be used if Mom and Dad disagree about medical matters.
Co-parents are supposed to function as a team. Divorce doesn’t grant one partner a dictator status.
You’re being much more mature than most divorced parents. Hopefully you’ll be able to teach by example. Good luck. Stay calm.
Thanks. It’s a little easier for me because I have a different perspective on the whole thing. As a pseudo-stepparent, I’m somewhat removed from the intense emotional drama.
I don’t see this as a black and white issue and it can’t all be spelled out ahead of time in a parenting agreement – you simply have no idea of the issues that may come up. For example, if you’re the parent who has majority custody, that inevitably means you’re the one running around to doctor’s appointments and after-school activities. So deciding who and what’s involved in that has to take into consideration your schedule and availability unless the two of you can agree to share transportation even when it’s not your parenting time.
All of these decisions, are much easier to make when approached from the perspective of what is best for the children, rather than who has what percentage of parenting time and who is paying. But as BackonMyOwn said, it does require a level of maturity. I think time brings that maturity … I’m a lot more flexible now with our parenting schedule than I was three years ago when I got divorced.
I agree, a parenting plan can’t explain everything, but it can aid in defining some of the gray areas. And decisions should definitely be made in the best interest of the child/children. I understand that it’s natural for parents to take action on day-to-day activities while their children are under their care. My issue is when one parent takes liberty to make larger decisions that effect the other parent. For example: it’s unfair/inconsiderate for Parent A to schedule activities for a child during Parent B’s time without prior consultation/notification. Active co-parents should collaborate on issues such as schooling, major medical treatment and other special circumstances.
You’re absolutely, right, however judges get to to make those decisions when two parents can’t make the “right call” in the heat of the moment, with emotions running roughshod on logic, better sense, and, well, with the greater picture in mind. Of course, we’re assuming that both parents ACTUALLY want this as well. Some custodial parents (or primary resident parents) hold that position of power over the ncp and use it to their every advantage, denying every insight or ability to parent (yes, alienation exists). I like to think that this process is reversing, especially as I attempt to use my jedi powers on my kids’ mother, but every now and then….
I’m surprised by how many people take their situation to court. Last year, I attended a Seminar For Families In Conflict- it’s the one required for any co-parents who wind up in court. The #1 lesson that the facilitator impressed upon the audience was “a stranger in a black robe does not know what is best for your family. Parents must learn to work together”.
It is a GREAT idea, that parents must learn to work together, but when you bring in the financial incentives to “gain” custody, mix it into the volatile cocktail of hostility, negative emotions, and whatever particular situation surrounds “mom v. dad” (kids not withstanding), I think many just can’t get past that point. And states, by far and large, encourage the courts to settle it because they gain in the long run (all we need do is begin to look at the increased bureaucracies for family courts, child support agencies, etc.)
I once attended a meeting for an association dedicated to the rights of noncustodial parents and gained a frightening amount of knowledge about the innerworkings of those bureaucracies for family courts….
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