After a divorce or separation, parents often find it difficult to transition into their new respective relationships. It can be challenging to wait to see children who just recently you were able to see any time you wanted. Perhaps the most difficult interactions are those that take place at the time of pick up or drop off for visitation. Whether you have pure custody or just visitation, the “meet-up” can be an emotionally charged event, fueled by animosity, anger, and resentment. With this in mind, here are some good tips to remember when swapping parenting time.
Tip 1 – Keep Perspective
Perhaps the first piece of advice should be keeping perspective. Most children fair well after divorce. In fact, research suggests that although children can act out and show signs of impact, most children recover quickly after a divorce. Moreover, if the relationship is plagued by hate, anger, and fights, then a divorce can actually be healthier for children. By keeping this in perspective, you should understand that the children will likely be okay. It’s what you do now and how you do it that will largely determine what type of relationship you have with your children as they grow up.
Tip 2 – Watch What You Say
Hopefully, you are fortunate enough to have an amicable break-up, one where you and your ex are able to communicate freely and maybe even enjoy the opportunity to swap stories about the kids when making the drop-off and pick-up, and maybe you even have some continuing relationship as friends. But in reality, this is not necessary. Even if you and your ex are mortal enemies, it’s important to still communicate. This, of course, does not mean you need to discuss everything. Avoid discussing your personal life, your job, your money or income, and especially new relationships. Stay civil and always put the kids first. If your ex asks questions about your own personal life, politely decline and just say you’d rather focus on the kids and avoid discussing irrelevant issues. Obviously, try to avoid fighting, but unless your ex has a real and legitimate reason for asking about something, there’s no reason to discuss your personal life.
Tip 3 – Don’t Bring the New Fling
Assuming you are in a position to begin dating again, chances are both you and your ex-spouse may have begun moving on with new relationships. Just remember that these relationships could inflame things. If the break-up is recent and there is still some hostility, it’s probably best not to bring your new partner to meet-ups. If it gets serious, there will be time to make the introductions and so forth, but use common sense.
Tip 4 – When in Doubt, Call Your Attorney
If something comes up and you are concerned about how it could affect things like child support, alimony, or even custody, it’s best to give your attorney a quick call to discuss before trying to resolve it yourself. Often things that seem simple and straightforward can lead to problems later. For instance, say your ex starts inquiring about your new business venture with specific questions about earnings and so forth. You may just want to deflect the questions and change the subject for now. These could be probing questions to decipher whether your ex can petition for an increase in child support or maintenance payments. This would be a good time to ask an attorney about your potential rights before disclosing anything.
Help is Here When You Need It
Throughout Greenville, SC and the surrounding areas, the Elliott Frazier Law Firm is here to help you with all your family law needs. Whether it’s a custody battle or a simple uncontested divorce, we want to help you minimize the stress and financial impact of these matters as much as possible. Give us a call to discuss today.