Welcome to the
Marriage Builders® Discussion Forum

This is a community where people come in search of marriage related support, answers, or encouragement. Also, information about the Marriage Builders principles can be found in the books available for sale in the Marriage Builders® Bookstore.
If you would like to join our discussion forum, please read the Announcement Forum for instructions, rules, & guidelines.
The members of this community are peers and not professionals. Professional coaching is available by clicking on the link titled Coaching Center at the top of this page.
We trust that you will find the Marriage Builders® Discussion Forum to be a helpful resource for you. We look forward to your participation.
Once you have reviewed all the FAQ, tech support and announcement information, if you still have problems that are not addressed, please e-mail the administrators at mbrestored@gmail.com
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
hey there to all those parents who are struggling with each other as to doing the right thing on custody with respect to young kids. My H and I have two kids, ages 3 and 5. H has been pushing for a joint physical custody arrangement which I have objected to.. I have been pushing for one of us to be the prime costodial parent and the other having a liberal visitation plan. I have always been the main caretaker of the kids, cut back my career to stay with them so I think I should be the one to maintain the home fires for the kids.. besides.. he is the one who moved out and wants the new life not I. Anyway, we did agree to hire a child psychologist (luckily covered by our insurnace) to review with a trained professional our issues and concerns. I urge anyone who is in the same boat to try it.. I think it is an effective way to get neutral non emotional advice from a professional. The advice we were given is to go with a prime custodial parent and visitation to the other parent. Whatever is agreed upon should be the same each and every week, as opposed to the every other weekend visits with dinner visits during the week that so many people do... it is harder on the parents to do this but emotionally sounder for the children. On the days that the visiting parent is not seeing the children.. s/he should call them at a regularly scheduled time. She also recommended no more than one over night visit, each and every week.. so a schedule would be tu/th for a few hours of a dinner and play visit plus Friday night until Saturday at noon, each and every week. In terms of vacations.. she said the general rule of thumb is no more days than the child is old.. in terms of being away from the prime custodial parent.... That is as far as we got during our last session and I thought that I would pass it on to those of you dealing with similar issues... For those of you who were thinking about a joint physical custody situation.. her advice was not to do it unless the children are teens and wish to do it. Before then, it is too disruptive to their lives.. effects their social patterns and sleep habits.. and can negatively effect their school work. She said Kids need the comfort and security of a home base. Of course the length of time away from home can increase as the kids get older.. but in the beginning of a separation.. any changes should be gradula and the kids eased into it. She said joint physical custody was very popular in the 70s and 80s.. but that research is showing that kids ended up not feeling fully comfortable in both environments and/or missing out on activities.. it was disorientating.. and basically the greatest benefit was to the parents as they felt less guilty.. but the children were no happier... she said the key to a well adjusted child was consistency in the schedule ultimately agreed upon... Hope this helps anyone out there going through this. My H was not happy listening to her.. I am sure he is going to try to find some new counselor now... but I can only hope he will listen!

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
W
Member
Offline
Member
W
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
That is one opinion.<P>How pervasive is that thinking throughout the industry of child psych?<P>thl<BR>

Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 14,283
K
Member
Offline
Member
K
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 14,283
I have read that as well, and my friend who's in the field concurs. Back when my older brother got divorced, joint custody was considered better, but since then they have decided it is actually harder on the child (in most cases), and that it is more important to offer the child a stable "home base". <P>In my brother's case, joint custody was great, but he and his x went to extremes to co-parent well (he bought a house just down the street, and he and his x truly continued to share parenting...the child never had to adjust to different friends, activities, rules, etc), and their child did very well (he's 25 or so now, so I consider him a finished product). Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the norm...<P>

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
Hey, I am just passing on the info that was given to me guys...While I do think that a joint physical custody plan could work.. it takes a lot of effort and cooperation that, let's face it both parents are not always able to do...Whatever is agreed upon.. the point is consistency is the key... Obviously some things are more feasible if both parents are in the same area.. if you are dealing with a long distance scenario than you would probably be given a different set of parameters. In terms of the comment about this being only one opinion given... sure it is... and you can also find someone to say what ever you want them to say. However, with young children, a lot of moving back and forth between parents would definately be disruptive.. as kids get older, that could be re-evaluated. I can just say that with respect to our kids.. they love us both... they love their Daddy and their mommy.. they need us both.. the trick is how do we work out a plan to give them what they need and want in a way that is healthy and beneficial. I totally foresee any plan that we work out for the here and now will have to constantly be tweaked and adjusted to meet the kids growing needs.. I definately think that kids benefit from things that both parents can teach them. I personally believe that the best benefits are when the parents can work things out to stay together and I feel that in our case my H is being selfish in having refused marital counseling in any attempt to stay together (he is totally engrossed in his OW.. she is his ideal woman and can do no wrong according to him.. although she has 2 divorces to her record already). I also have concerns because we separated once before for 6 months.. and after the initial frenzy of desire and guilt to be a good dad had subsided.. he very quickly began to ask me to reaarange his times with the kids and/or to just show up hours late... So I worry about protecting our kids from dissapointment as well.. oh well.. this is all so complicated... I really wish that divorce was not such an easily accomplished thing when young kids are involved... afterall they are the ones who really suffer!

Joined: Apr 1999
Posts: 5,798
L
Member
Offline
Member
L
Joined: Apr 1999
Posts: 5,798
Thanks for sharing that, Nikki.<P>We never really got into more than 2 weeks of formal visitation, my H just spent a lot of time at the house.<P>But one thing we ran into with older kids 12 & 14 is that they have activities, friends, overnights and, since I spend a lot of time with them, I didn't mind letting them go, but felt bad if it conflicted with H's visitation. Any thoughts on that?

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
While my kids are young, they too already have some activities and invites that the visitation conflicts with at times... I think that you should look at it from the perspective of... would they be allowed to do this if we were together? If the answer is yes.. than every effort should be made to allow the kids to participate in the same activities as before your separation. Maybe the days that are his days can be chosen as the days on which they were least likely to have other activities. Also, let him be the one who picks up or takes them to the activitiy/friends house so he is still involved. Don't let the kids plan activities on your H's day as a means of avoiding him (something that may be happening uncounsciously).. you do have an obligation to actively encourage the kids to spend time with your spouse or ex spouse.. but they need to understand that the kids needs have to come first... a very difficult balancing act... but if you all keep that in mind you should be able to talk through any issues that come up. Good Luck!!<BR>I was talking to a friend of mine who has been divorced for a while and is active with his kids. his ex w is the prime custodial parent.. he told me that he made a decision early on to not interfere with their regular life.. to realize that they needed consistency in their lives.. so if they had plans he would talk to them about how he could help them.. and maybe meet them afterwards or on another night.. (his kids were about the age of yours at the time of his divorce). He basically respected their wishes and by talking with them directly about how to manage visits (along with his ex), he said that the kids felt more involved and like they had a say.. and his ex w was also not feeling like she was pushed out of the picture for his convenience. Also, he said he never took the kids away from their home on holidays.. he wanted the established traditions to continue... and he created brand new traditions.. so, for instance, he would take them on Christmas eve day.. but return them that night so they could always wake up at home for christmas and he took them out for breakfast on thanksgiving.. and easter, but returned them for the traditional family meals... I thought that was very understanding on his part of the bigger picture. he said that his kids are now older teens and twenties and that he has a great relationship with them.... I wish I could get my H to understand this type of an approach....of well food for thought!

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 413
K
Member
Offline
Member
K
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 413
Nikki,<BR>My H and I have what is called "joint custody" with me as the primary custodian. He gets the kids every other weekend from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. He has 2 weeknights he can see them, but usually only sees them 1 weeknight. So far it seems to work pretty well for us. He only lives about 15 miles away so it's easy for the kids to stay involved in their activities and we both make the effort to schedule around their stuff as much as possible. My kids are 14, 11 & 9. If they were younger I think your plan would be more stable. For older kids who understand what's going on, I think it should be based on what is best for each family. Now, when OW is living with H full-time, things might change. Right now he boots her out of the house when the kids come over because they don't know about her. I guess we'll just wait and see.<P><P>------------------<BR>Blessed be.<BR>****************<BR>Keridwen<P>Keridwen_7@yahoo.com

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
B
Member
Offline
Member
B
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
<BR>Frankly, I am extremely unconvinced by any assertions that joint physical and legal custody arrangements are in any way detrimental to children. To wit:<P>"As Richard Warshak's testimony indicates, no study has found that joint physical custody is disadvantageous to children. Where researchers have found significant differences, they favor the joint custody arrangement. Only a few empirical studies<BR>raise any concerns at all about joint custody and these have been given an unwarranted anti joint custody "spin." These studies merit a closer look. For example, Janet Johnston's work has been cited as opposing joint custody. She notes in her article, 'Court-ordered joint physical custody and frequent visitation arrangements in high-conflict divorce tend to be<BR>associated with poorer child outcomes, especially for girls' (High Conflict Divorce,1994, p. 165). <P>"A closer look at her definition of high conflict families reveals that she estimated the incidence from Maccoby and Mnookin's California study where 25 % of the divorcing families where judged to have high conflict, but only 10 % of these (2.5 %) show an association between joint custody/frequent visitation access and poorer child adjustment. Clearly, such an extreme population should not serve as the basis for policy that affects the welfare of the other 97.5 % of the population."<P>-- from the Minority Report and Policy Recommendations of the United States Commission on Child and Family Welfare, 1996, by John Guidubaldi, D.Ed., L.P., L.P.C.C.<P>See also:<P>American Psychological Association. (1995). Preliminary summary: Empirical research describing outcomes of joint<BR>custody. Washington, DC. <P>Now, divorcing parents might agree to a joint custody arrangement that deviates from 50%, but any claims that joint custody is inadvisable should be met with a lot of skepticism IMO.<P>Bystander

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
Bystander....everyone has to decide what is right for their situation. What you quoted to could also have holes poked at... the bottom line with psychology is that while there are many blac and white areas.. there is a lot that falls into a grey zone. I just know that I would not like to have to go back and forth between homes.. and that is me as an adult... so children, who crave consistency probably are not keen on it either. I once went thru a one year period where I traveled every week and was home on weekends... at first it was fun.. but it very quickly became a drag! The bottom line is, assuming two equally loving parents, who are not abusive in any way.. kids will want to see them both. It is up to you how that should be derived. In the case of this psychologist she was simply saying that kids need a set weekly schedule... that when they are as young as our kids are, that a weekly schedule was better than a biweekly schedule.. and that in her experience working with kids joint physical custody (an evan split of time) did not generally work unless and until the kids were young teens at a minimum. Now I have to say this makes sense to me... assuming you live near each other.. I think the non custodial parent should make adjustments to the kids needs and physical environment (i.e. visits on the kids turf if possible.. adjusting schedule so there is no conflict with agreed upon after school activities...etc...) I think the non custodial parent and the custodial parent should come to mutual decisions on education, activities and discipline and that they should work as a team whenever possible and feasible.... this is something that I am willing to do with my H as I understand that he needs to be part of their lives for the benefit of the kids. I just don't think that the kids need to be totally uprooted for his convenience... it is his decision to move out.. fine.. do so.. but than the burden should be on him to come to the kids to do things that work for the kids as opposed to making the world and particularly the kids meet his continuing selfish needs.....

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
B
Member
Offline
Member
B
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
Nikki,<BR><BR>You can "shop" for a psychologist who will tell you anything you want to hear. Given that, I don't really put much stock in what one psychologist happens to say. As for convenience, whoever is the custodial parent has the convenience by your definition. While I'm sympathetic to your view that because your H wants out, he should sacrifice, I'm sorta left wondering whether the argument that changing schedules will stress the children has any merit. I'll yield to your assertion that in your case it does, but on average I kinda doubt it, really. I'm glad to see that you want to share decision-making with your husband, though. I think that is a very important part of building a workable relationship with him, and I congratulate you. I don't see the venom in your posts that often accompany breakups.<BR><BR>Bystander

Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 2
C
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
C
Joined: Jun 2000
Posts: 2
I am glad to see this discussion. My husband and I have been separated a month and he wants the kids to spend one week with him and one week with me. Our children are<BR>2 and 6. Before school let out, he saw them every morning because he continued to take them to school once school was out. He also spends a Saturday/night or Sunday with them.<P>I am a little concerned about the every other week, due to stability. Of course, since I questioned this my H thinks that I am questioning his decision making or telling him what he can and can not do.<P>I have no problems with him spending time with his children. I just think they should sleep in one place the majority of time.<P>I guess I just need to find a way to tell him that so he is not threatend. <P>Advice?<P>

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
Yeah.. my advice is to go to a child psychologist together and raise your issues.. he raises his and let a trained professional tell you.. suggest a good compromise.. if nothing else they are a neutral party. You and your H.. just like I and my H are a little too emotional right now.. so getting feedback from a neutral party is helping us. Our insurance is covering 80% of the cost as well so that also works out. Where did he move to? Can't he still take part in the morning routine and take the kids to whatever summer activities you have scheduled for the kids? Is there any way that you can work out something that is as close to what the kids were used to as before separating? What this psychologist said and what my lawyer said she has heard over the years on a consistent basis from a number of different psychologists.. is that with young kids like yours and mine.. consistency and frequency of visits is the key.. it is better.. at this point in time for the non custodial parent to see the kids frequently for shorter visits than to set up longer visits that you see more typically with slightly older kids... so having him come by every other night for a few hours and then splitting the weeked somehow is better for the kids right now... after some adjustment time and maturation from the kids you could move into a more traditional every other weekend visits.. etc.... Good luck.. working out the custody stuff has been by far the worst part of my situation!

Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
N
Member
OP Offline
Member
N
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 51
Bystander: I struggle dailey to remember that what my H has done to me and to us should not effect his relationship with the kids... Sometimes I am better about remembering than other times. What I do remember very well however is that when we were separated once before, that his parenting fervor faded.. that when we reconciled.. he swore he would be a great Dad about participation.. and that also faded... The bottom line with my H is he loves them... but that he has some growing up to do still and that I have been the parent who has provided the consistency for the kids. He also provides a lot to the kids that I can not... simply by being the male role model.. and by shwoing them that he loves them he is giving them a lot... I fervently hope that he will not fade out again this time... but I am bracing myself for it.. after all generally people do not change the underlying selves. The good thing about my H is that he wants to do the right thing and I know that if I remind him.. he will come back around.. but for him work has always been a driving force for him.. and now this OW is also sucking up his time and attention as well.. oh well..life is a constant adjustment!

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
W
Member
Offline
Member
W
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
OK, what is the approximate age for older, mature kids, to have full weekends, travel for up to two weeks, away from mom.<P>thanks<P>s is 11, d is 8<P>wanted to go on a camping vacation trip this summer, with whole family, until !@#$%^ happend in winter. Kids still want to, but don't know about D yet.<P>thanks<P>thl<p>[This message has been edited by WhenIfindthetime (edited June 09, 2000).]

Joined: Nov 1999
Posts: 924
M
Member
Offline
Member
M
Joined: Nov 1999
Posts: 924
Since my situation is so different than anyone elses on the board......I will only say.....I think that it is best for the children to stay at one home and have the non-custodial parent visit or take them places on certain nights, that way other things can be planned around these nights.<P>I won't go into more....just that I think everyones situation is different, so there is alot of gray area.<P>Nancy

Joined: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,580
R
RWD Offline
Member
Offline
Member
R
Joined: Jun 1999
Posts: 2,580
thyl, <BR>Check with your lawyer or county domestic relations offices. I have Medina Counties Standard visitation schedule and their are guidelines for visitation as to age and that also includes vacations.<P>It says " for children under age two, extended summer visitation shall be only by written agreement of the parties or special order of Court. IN considering visitation for children in this age group, parents should consider the child's maturity, emotional attachment to each parent and attachment to any older siblings who will have extended visitations."

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
W
Member
Offline
Member
W
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 5,924
sorry, s is 11, d is 8,<P>that was why I was asking as he is getting <BR>older, close to teenager.<P>thl

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 218
L
Member
Offline
Member
L
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 218
h has been insisting that he get the kids. S is 2.5, and D is 8 months. what is H thinking? i have been home with them since i was pregnant, intend on nursing d till she is 2, and H has consistently ignored my pleas that he not take them to meet OW. h works at least 11 hours a day to support his manic spending habits, and begs me to help him with the finances (OW is/was a coworker, and im just a boring old housewife...he makes upwards of 200k per year, but can't pay the bills).<BR>sorry, but i just don't see it. what, he would race them off to daycare every morning? the funny thing is, he's offering me 3k a month alimony, which is all child support would be, just to get me out of the picture. sheesh.<BR>im smiling on one side, saying, oh, joint physical and legal, sure, sure, honey, and hiring a kick butt lawyer on the other side, who makes sure i get full physical. yes, i want him to have liberal visitation, but i am all they know. heck, for 8 months he left me for OW and only came home one night a week. S's first "sentence" at 18 months was "bye bye daddy", as he picked up a red race car just like his dad's miata.<BR>oh, i'll be very plan A, and i have no real animosity anymore, but im protecting my kids the only way i know how. they need stability, and he's had 9 jobs in the last 3 years, and is about to sell the "dream home" he just bought, as his latest job is 70 miles away. i have not been able to sign S up for preschool, as our living arrangements have been up in the air for about a year now. im tired, and so are my kids. im going to find a nice place somewhat near H, and im pretty sure he'll be back with OW soon, and he can support us and come visit anytime he wants. <BR>a friend of mine noted that H broke his marital contract with the lying and the OW, and why should he be "rewarded" with the kids? he's a good dad, when he's around (oh, i went to work on saturday before mothers day, and he got a babysitter we barely know, then went to get drunk with OW all weekend, and did not come home until sunday night. happy mother's day!!!)(normally he does not drink, this was odd, and very hurtful), but he's just too busy with OW and playing and working so hard that i don't think even spending HALF the week with them is a good idea.<BR>sorry, i did not mean to vent...ive been having a tough week...<BR>on a lighter note, i went to spend every weekend with my dad, consistently from age 5-12, and that seemed like a perfect arrangement to me, i thought that's what everyone did! i would love to be "free" of my kids, say, 3 weekends a month, so i will lobby for something like that when they get older...for now, they are my tiny babies, and virtually all they know is me, and all i know is them, and do my feelings matter at all? i hope so [Linked Image from marriagebuilders.com]

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 600
7
711 Offline
Member
Offline
Member
7
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 600
Nikki: I think it is great that you went to see a psychologist for help in making this decision. It is the hardest aspect of divorce. The kids have absolutely no say in the divorce so we need to do all we can to make it work out the best for them. I have read quite a bit on this and feel that there are so many different approaches to visitation it is hard to really know which one to choose.<P>I think the bottom line message I found is that the best situation is one where the children see both parents consistently and feel loved. I think everyone's situation is different, because of working schedules, locations, etc. I think one needs to see what works best, get the children's input where appropriate due to age, and make sure the motive is truly for the kid's sake. Right not, I am the custodial parent but my X has visitation on Tues and Thurs nights (he comes to my house now and I go out) and then he has them every other weekend. It is strange leaving him at my house those nights, but the kids get to stay in the house they know. The house is on the market and once sold, we both hope to have a home where we can set up a special room for the kids, so they feel at home in either place. During the school year, they will only stay at my place and he will just have them for dinners on Tues and Thurs. We thought about overnight stays with the x even during the week (it worked out very well for my sister) because it would help me out two days a week as I commute to work each day (and did leave at 6:00 to avoid traffic) and would give me some freedom two nights a week. But I realized that was self serving and probably not best for the kids. My counselor thought during the week the kids should stay at one place. They are 3 and 5 like yours. I think at this age that is appropriate. He thought switching the kids on the weekends was fine and some overnight stays in the summer would be ok but not during the school year even if your x lived close by and could take them to school. Who knows? I'll try that and if it doesn't seem to be working out, I'll try something else. <P>Again, I don't think there is any right answer to all this. If it feels right and the kids seem happy, it probably is right. Just pray about it and keep educated and I think you will make the correct decision for your family. Good luck! <P>

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
B
Member
Offline
Member
B
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 798
<BR>lwb,<P>Quick note: Its easier on your H to pay $3K in alimony than $3K in child support. The alimony is tax deductible, whereas child support is not. Thus, if the amount is really the same to you, it would be better for your H to pay it in alimony. In fact, even if you do get custody, reducing child support and increasing alimony in its place allows for more money for all parties, because of the tax implications. Family courts in Massachusetts routinely do it this way for high-salary cases.<P>Bystander

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard
Forum Search
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 129 guests, and 60 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
caraduke, Convict20, GTNY, Avianna, BootsJeans
71,736 Registered Users
Forum Statistics
Forums67
Topics133,550
Posts2,322,804
Members71,737
Most Online3,185
Jan 27th, 2020
Building Marriages That Last A Lifetime
Copyright © 1995-2020, Marriage Builders®. All Rights Reserved.  |  Web Development by SunStar Media.
Site Navigation
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5