My current series is about LA Single Mama who has been divorced now for six years. She and her ex have a son who is now seven. LA Single Mama was committed from the beginning to acting in her son’s best interests. I think that’s much easier said than done especially at first when emotions are raw. However, a number of interviewees have said the co-parenting does get easier with time. It takes time to renegotiate your relationship with your ex and to rebuild trust. For some, a detailed parenting plan brings safety and flexibility. For LA Single Mama, staying out of court is a driving factor. Here’s how she sees it.
I think the one thing my ex and I have done is right is that we put aside everything that was going on with us to make sure we’re parents first. I think that’s one of the reasons our child is well-adjusted. He was six months old when all this started and I moved out when he was about a year old so he doesn’t remember living with his dad and he doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t go back and forth. In truth, I think that since it happened that way and we’ve handled it well, he just thinks it’s normal.
He has started asking questions more recently about why we don’t live together or why all his friends live with their mom and dad but he doesn’t seem upset by the answer. It’s more like a fact, he just says, “oh” and then he’s onto something else.
I think it’s important that we have a schedule so we know what’s going on and where he’s supposed to be but we’re flexible when it’s necessary. One of the ways we’ve made it work is that I gave up more time than I wanted to. That was hard for me because I would have had all the time if I could except I thought, he needs a good relationship with his father. It’s important for him growing up to be a healthy boy and adult. In the beginning, it felt like a big sacrifice for me but now, years later, I think it was the right decision.
Right now we have probably a 60:40 split for parenting time where I’m 60. It means my son spends part of the school week with his dad but it’s always either at the beginning or the end of the week and we do blocks of time at this point. When he was younger, we would do a day or two days but once he was about five he was able to handle being away from me for longer. Now we do it so a weekend will blend into the week.
My ex wants more parenting time. He wants 50:50 and sooner or later it’s going to be that. I’ve known that from the beginning but my main goal has been to give my son what he can developmentally handle and balance that with my ex wanting 50:50 from the very beginning. I think my son probably spent more time away from me than was good in the very beginning because my ex was constantly threatening to take me to court and fight me for more custody. I didn’t want to risk that happening so I tried to accommodate him as much as I could without me thinking it was detrimental to our son.
Had I not given up that time in the beginning I think we would have ended up in court and I think that would have been bad for everybody, not only financially but emotionally. My thought is that you always stay out of court if you can because you never know what someone else is going to decide for you. If you can make that decision yourself or you can come to some sort of agreement yourself, it’s better than putting yourself in the hands of someone who doesn’t even know your family.
I should have asked LA Single Mama whether her decision to avoid court was a conclusion she came to herself or a recommendation from someone else. Either way, it seems a smart one and one that is the secret to a successful divorce, according to an article in Divorce.com magazine.
Thankfully, the threat of court was never a serious concern for my ex and I. We have more of a traditional custody arrangement where the kids are with me during the school week and my and ex and I alternate weekends. My son goes overnight to his dad’s on Wednesdays although he says periodically that he doesn’t like this because it does break up the week. So I wouldn’t be surprised if his visits change in the near future. My daughter, who is older, is supposed to also go on Wednesdays but never has and my ex hasn’t fought that. I’m glad about that because I think it would damage his relationship with her and besides, has anyone ever been successful at forcing a 16-year-old to do anything ?? 🙂