If you knew that you would automatically get custody and not have to pay child support and/or alimony, would you be more likely to file for divorce if you were really unhappy in your marriage or relationship?
Let me guess your answer…yes.
Of course you would.
This is the way many people feel when they file for divorce in our country. In fact, our domestic relations laws in most states have increased the incentives to file. The problem I see is that with this presumption of instant custody is the reality that the children are collateral damage. It might seem as if you win if you get the kids, the house, the transfer of wealth in a child support order, but the reality is that the children lose in the long run.
Recently, I have seen photos on the internet of smiling mothers with their happy kids. They look happy and both the mother and the child are smiling. I sometimes wonder why they never include the father. I have no idea what is going on, but I am assuming that things are just great and they are putting up selfies that just didn’t include daddy. I look at these photos and think they are great.
What if the partnership with their husband broke down. They marriage was on the rocks and in serious decline. What would make any person think that the best interest of the child would be for the father to take this children away from a loving mother? Who would feel that same mother, who was so happy with her kid in the photos posted all over the internet would be happy to see that child only four days a month? What if, on top of that, the mother had to pay the father money to supposedly help pay for child care expenses? That mother would also pay for the father to maintain the same lifestyle they loved when they loved together even though the couple made roughly the same amount of money each year? How would one feel if the mother wasn’t the one who cheated and broke down the relationship? What if the father got caught cheating, but the mother was kicked out of the house just because the father chose to file first and knew he would get instant custody?
Now, would that make any sense?
Let me guess your answer…no.
So why is it just fine with so many people when the sexes are reversed?
I feel kids need both their biological mother and their biological father. If the parents cannot live together, ‘the best interests of the children’ is to make sure there is as much contact with both parents as possible. Limiting contact to every other weekend is truly detrimental to the children’s emotional, spiritual and psychological development. We have had mountains of research that has shown this to be true.
I feel things are even worse for those who take the path of consciously choosing to be a single parent by kicking the other parent out of the home. It is like choosing to run a marathon with one leg or getting into a boxing match with one arm tied behind your back. You might win, but the chances are slim. Kids lose more often than they win in single parent homes.
Running to family court to get a leg up of your future ex is not a recipe for success. Your concoction is doomed once you begin that cocktail. Think long and hard about the choices you make in a custody battle. You may not see it now, but many years later, your kids will remember how you kept them from their other half instead of doing your best to allow them the most time with their other parent.
Your kids didn’t divorce your ex, you did. Be mindful of this fact before you reach for the instant custody mix.