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Advice for Divorcing Parents – thoughts from my experience

  1. Put the kids first.  This divorce is because of your problems together, but now, you must think of how to get your kids through it successfully.  Always put their thoughts, feelings, etc., first.  If you can handle total shared custody….50/50 split…do it.
  2. Money is not everything.  This goes for both parties.  My philosophy:  if you don’t want to have a life together anymore you should not rely on that person to take care of you at all.  This does NOT go for support of your children…..read on.
  3. PAY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT.  If you have an agreement where this is warranted, pay it for goodness’ sake.  The kids have relied on 2 parents thus far to take care of them, so continue that.
  4. DON’T be a gold-digger.  This has to be my biggest pet peeve of divorcing.  Goes with #2, too.  No matter which party is doing the digging, it’s very unflattering.  I don’t believe in alimony.  And child support should be a fair amount…..(hint:  courts do not always establish a fair amount)  For example, my local court thought my children’s father should pay $650/month for 2 kids when he only made $13.00/hour and was being granted quite a bit of time with the kids – over 40%.  That’s almost 30% of his income.  He does have to live and pay bills.  I disagreed, cut it down to $300/month.  (He still didn’t pay or keep up his visitation, but that’s another matter….goes back to #1)
  5. Divorce is not an excuse to behave badly.  No doubt someone behaved badly to get to this point.  To me, it should be a wake up call to start behaving well.  Figure out what you need to change for the better.  This doesn’t mean to try to get the other person back, but figure out how to get a new relationship to work.  Making the same mistakes twice usually doesn’t work out well.  REMEMBER:  your kids are watching.
  6. GET ALONG with the former spouse.  This is SO hard.  There are very few people that can successfully do this.  I am not one of them.  Pretty sure it has to do with the fact that the reason I’m writing this is because of my divorce.  There are so many hurt feelings, but as long as the focus shifts from the relationship between the parents to the relationship between the parent and the kids, it should work.  Again, REMEMBER:  your kids are watching!

I’m no expert, just someone who’s gone through the mess.  I know I’m not perfect.  But I am the one who has stepped up for my children.  My ex could not even handle his visitation of his kids.  He would just not pick them up.  Then he joined the Army full time after being in the reserves and moved.  Ok….good job…you are serving your country, (and because of income deduction orders, taking care of your children financially…..finally). But then he went AWOL, was found again, eventually got out of the Army somehow…(they probably dishonorably discharged him…not sure).  So instead of coming back and restarting life here, he moved to another state and started another family.  In my not-so-expert opinion, he did not follow Rule #1.

So, I’ve come to the point where he is financially taking care of the kids (after a 1 year hiatus) and requesting them to visit (their recent Texas visit – see previous posts here and here.)

Another reason I’m writing this is because of the malarkey my husband and I go through with his ex who is now divorcing her 2nd husband and trying to royally screw him and my husband over….she’s breaking every rule above.

I’m just not sure where the majority of society has gotten the idea that once you divorce, it’s okay to forget your kids.  It’s not their fault you divorced.  Don’t use “child support” as an excuse to suck the other parent dry.  Don’t use “custody” to strip your kids from the other parent…..unless of course there are domestic violence issues…I realize this is a whole separate situation.  But I’m talking about your regular, everyday divorcing couples that just can’t make it work.

Divorce is now your chance to have a better relationship with your kids….without the other parent around….without the bitterness you no doubt harbor against your ex-other-half.  Don’t a lot of parents try to get this one-on-one time with their kids while they’re married?  Seems I’ve heard a lot of that.

Your bottom line is your kids.  Grow them happy and healthy and loved.  Maybe one day they’ll be parents as well, and hopefully they’ll be as good if not better than you are as a parent!  At least that’s what I hope for mine!

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4 years

4 years can mean some major accomplishments in life:

As a kid, being able to start preschool.

Graduating from high school.

Graduating from college (on a “normal” schedule…for me it’s taken 15 years and counting….2 semesters left!!!..a topic for another time.)

The amount an olympian has to train to compete again for the gold.

A birthday for leap year babies! 😉

A presidential term.

4 years…that’s how long I’ve been married this second time around…..4 years today! It’s amazing how different a marriage can be when you have mutual love and respect. We go through our share of ups and downs, mind you, but this marriage is so different from my first. We actually argue quite a bit.

In my first marriage, I prided myself on the fact we were so compatible we never argued…and I mean never. This actually led to me being totally naive and not seeing things that were right under my nose. When I found these hidden lies he was keeping from me, well then we fought. But I would forgive, like the dutiful wife. And I would try to forget, but then he would lie again, and again, and again, till I couldn’t stand the lies anymore and I started lying myself. And then I left. I’m no longer proud of that marriage.

But I am proud of this marriage. The last 4 years have taught me a lot. I’ve had to learn to trust again. I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to disagree. That I am not always right (SHOCKER!!!!) That we can disagree and still love each other. That you can have a marriage without having to live with lies. That my former idea of a perfect marriage was a sham.

I believe I do have a perfect marriage now. Perfectly full of ups and downs…and life.

Perfect for me and my Mr. Wonderful.

Cole Ryan

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