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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Father's Divorce

I have prepared enough divorces over the years that I have been able to observe patterns. One of the most heartbreaking patterns is the fact that in many divorces, the father gets cut out of his child's life.
Every state is governed by different laws. Some states have been quicker to act on this growing trend but still fall short in protecting the rights of a father.
I realize this is probably going to cause a stir and I expect negative feedback from writing this and I am alright with this because it needs to be addressed.
Over the years I have become an unofficial cheerleader for fathers. What most do not stop to understand is that I am not rallying so much for the father's but for the children.
As an adopted child I have a different view on parenting and the importance for co parenting. Regardless of anything, people can and should put their efforts into constructive co parenting. A child will never have "too much love" and in my opinion, a child with ongoing relationships with both parents will grow up emotionally healthier.
Sure, there are instances that would warrant a change in this mindset but as a whole, neither parent should be deemed as more important. There is a reason it takes two people to create a child and both parents should be acknowledged and given an equal voice in the upbringing of the child.
Going through a divorce is a highly emotional time. Often times it may be difficult to take a step back and look at the whole picture. I strongly suggest doing this and write down your wishes regarding your child. This will help negotiate a fair and friendly arrangement with regards to the child.
Sometimes this means you have to separate the pain and anger from the good to recognize what is best for the child. It may not be what is best for you but think about what is best for your child. After all, isn't this the job description of a parent? Making the best decisions possible for your child is your job as a parent.
I have negotiated a good parenting plan with parents who are so emotionally over the top with anger and pain so I know it can be done, even in the worst possible situations.
It takes strength to be able to do this but it is probably the most important part of a divorce. It is human nature for us to be so angry because of behavior and heartbreak that we can lose sight over what is truly important.
As an adopted child I grew up virtually without a father and a mother who really did not want anything to do with me and I can speak from experience when I say that the one thing I wished for as a child was a good relationship with my father.
I went on to raise my own kids without their father and it was not by my choice. I went to extremes to try to include their father in their lives. I have no regrets about that because at the end of the day, I know in my heart I did all that I could to foster a good and healthy relationship and I believe my kids are better for it.
Being a bad husband does not mean someone is a bad father. I have seen so many cases where children are used as pawns as a sort of payback for mistakes made during a marriage. I feel this is terribly unfair, not only to the father but to the children. Why should the children be punished?
If your marriage is over, separate the marriage from the children. It is extremely important to be able to do this to give your child security. Children are not equipped to handle adult issues.
Just because you are going through a divorce this does not mean that one parent should be separated both physically and emotionally from a child.
I often give parents a list of things to help keep arguing to a minimum when dealing with the parenting aspect of a divorce. It can be a difficult adjustment but there are things both parents can do to make sure the situation does not have a negative impact on the child.
First and foremost, do not attempt to separate your child from the other parent. You are hurting your child by doing this. No responsible parent should ever try to ruin a relationship between the other parent and the child.
I have listened to countless women say that they are going to cut the father out of their child's life to "make him pay" for mistakes made during the marriage. As a female, I can understand the emotional toll that a bad marriage can take but this is not license to hurt your children. You may be hurting him and you may believe that he deserves it but look into the face or faces or your precious children and ask yourself if this is what they deserve?
No child can ever have too much love and too many people who want the best for them, why would anyone want to take this away?

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