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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2006, 08:01 AM
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This is a very good thread which presents the common arguements in favour of and against shared parenting.

The common belief is that we should have a cookie cutter approach to determining the amount of time children spend with each parent once a divorce occurs. Right now, the paradigm is one of children living with their primary caregiver and every second weekend access to the other parent.

Naturally, there is a financial incentive to maintaining primary care. Naturally there is a financial incentive to getting shared parenting. Naturally there is a view that one parent's rights are being stomped on by the system. Naturally, there is an assertion that kids are going to be bounced around.

So let's examine the bounced around part. The last time I looked, children these days in an intact family are still fairly bounced around between school, daycare, extracurricular activities, play dates and programs/services for children. They spend large parts of their evenings being shuttled about town in a minivan two or three times a week. Is this negatively impacting them? Beats me. We assume it isn't because they are coming home to a home where both parents live.

If the primary concern is one of the kids being bounced around - are the children bounced around in a shared parenting arrangement where both parents live 5 minutes from each other?

Again, beats me - do we need a study to tell us what's happening or can we look for cues in our children to determine whether there is a problem. Moreover, when we are looking at those cues, are we as divorced parents objective enough to respond to those cues in a child-centred fashion or are we going to think about what we want verus how to support our kids?

Look, shared parenting assumes a lot of function exists between mom and dad. In my experience, fathers who want shared parenting want it right bloody now because it is their "right". Mothers who oppose shared parenting oppose it right bloody now because they feel they have a divine right to be in charge of the kids. Classic examples of parents putting their interests ahead of the children's interests. So what's the happy medium that both positional parents can live with?

How about making a parenting plan where you can incrementally increase time to shared parenting over, say a year, and during that year, the plan has mechanisms in place (like implementing the plan under the auspices of a child psychologist) that will allow both parents to solve any problem areas that might arise enroute to shared parenting.

Is that the happy medium? Can both parents who dislike each other live with it?

I await reading further postings on this thread.
  #22 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2006, 09:30 PM
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Shaun, you really are the voice of reason. I'm not sure why a parent should have to wait and gradually acquire time with his child as you suggest. On the other hand I do understand this if one parent is being reintroduced after an absence.

If after seperation the mom feels she has the "right" to decide access I feel this is wrong. Yes during seperation both sides may feel the other are incompetent. No doubt my ex used every excuse to claim I was not fit for 50/50 custody, I felt the same about her having full custody. Why is it so often the Mom's expect full custody and fathers simply want to share??? Could not be the money & control could it? Nah not possible Fathers don't know how to parent properly, yeah that must be it.

All too often Mothers feel they have the right to decide, all too often fathers are not educated enough to realize they do not have to be dictated to on this issue.

How would people feel if the Mother had to gradually work to acquire time to gain access and "prove" they are worthy to have time with thier own children after divorce. Oh my God this would certainly not be acceptable would it, why so for Fathers.
  #23 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2006, 11:30 PM
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Default bravo!

like I said, dads are parents too.

btw - I am a mom.
Seperated 7 years.
Dad didn't want shared custody until a couple of months ago. After 7 years, I happily suggested a routine that would transition us all into an even split of time.
Do I want to, NO.
Do I feel these are MY kids, and I have always made decisions, and I am best at it? YES.
But, my kids have a right to be raised by two parents. PERIOD.
I do not have the right to take that away from them beause I selfishly think I am the better parent. Nor do I have that right because I want to punish him. And in the end, that's what this is about. Punishing Dads. Moms thinking they are the superior parents.
This entire system is set-up to punish men. And women who perpetuate it should be ashamed of themselves. Unless your child is in danger, you have no good reason to hold them back from having an equal relationship with both of you.
It's a shame that fathers ever have to fight for rights. A crying shame.
I am fortunate enough to be in a relationship now with a partner who is a terrific dad - who has his children almost 50/50 (as close as possible) but it's a fight every time his ex files a new motion - always for money, always with the threat of moving, or taking time away - and it's sickening that that has to be a real fear.
Being a good parent always means making sacrifices - and if sacrificing time with my child is something I have to do, I am willing to do it.
In the end, I am confident they will thank me. I sincerely doubt children who were used as pawns in a money grab are ever going to thank the parent who did that to them.
  #24 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2006, 04:11 AM
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Frankly, I think if parents choose to try to do the 50/50 thing, Sean's graduated approach would be a good transitional step for the kids and the parents. And certainly for those who live in the same neighborhood and cooperate with one another, or those parents attempting the 'nesting' thing, that's gotta be better than the abrupt, "Hey, look at that; now you've got 2 houses, kiddo" approach. I still have to wonder if it's not more damaging for the child than having one "primary" home, and liberal access to the other parent (where appropriate), but then again, that's just my opinion. Obviously, none of us have raised several generations of kids through divorce, trying out all the various alternatives, and as such, have the experience and knowledge to have anything more than just our personal opinions on the subject, right? Add to that, that we all have our own personal storylines and the consequential wounds to show for them, and you've got the makings of a good scrap!

Originally Posted by today
I'm not sure why a parent should have to wait and gradually acquire time with his child as you suggest.
Once again, it's not about the parent, ok? It's about the child. If it's best for the child involved that access be graduated, that's what both parents should want. Not every situation calls for that need, but some do.

Bottom line here, there are no black and whites in this. That's where I find I get very frustrated; when people seem to only see things from one particular perspective that pertains to their particular situation, and then judge everyone else by that perspective. That kind of thinking doesn't inspire any change, so what is the point?
  #25 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2006, 08:10 AM
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Just as in fully functional marriages, there is no perfect way to raise kids and there is also no cookie cutter approach. Some kids spend most of their time in a daycare, some kids spend most of their time being raised by grandparents, some times kids come home to a traditional arrangement and sometimes both parents are just lousy parents and let the Internet or video games raise their kids for them.

If there is anything good to be found in disputes over custody and access, it's that these disputes can force parents to re-evaluate how they view their role as a parent. In some cases they can become far better parents, in other cases, their lives are poisoned because they can't separate their issues with a former spouse from the need to support their kids.

Most men that I have worked with report that they would have loved to be intimately involved in the primary functions of child care to the same extent as their wives during the marriage, but when they did try to become intimately involved, mom told them they were doing it wrong or worse, mom took dad's desire for an increased parenting role personally and felt that it threatened her view of what parenting should be. I have long believed that one of the reasons that men defer primary care of the children to their wives is to keep the peace in the matrimonial home. It's not the primary reason, but it's a reason nonetheless.

So this brings me to the Great Canadian Chili Dog incident. I am mentioning this incident to highlight the differences of opinion that exist between men and women in terms of what each gender may feel is in the best interest of the kids.

Once upon a time there was a moderate conflict divorced mom and dad where dad had the kids every second Thursday to Sunday. Mom and dad communicated parenting issues via email - rarely met in person to discuss things. During the kid's parenting time with Dad, on Friday mornings the kids would have chili dogs for breakfast.

This drove mom nuts. Drove her insane.

"Kids need a healthy balanced meal!" "The shouldn't have chili dogs for breakfast at your house on Friday mornings!!!"

Well, dad took great offence to this. Sent a letter to mom saying that the kids like Chili Dogs for breakfast and at least they are going to school on a Friday morning with a full belly.

Mom hyperfocused on the Chili Dogs. To the point where she instructed her lawyer to send a letter to dad's lawyer telling him that she had primary care and that as the primary caregiver, she was demanding that Chili Dogs are removed from the menu on Friday mornings at dad's house.

Dad's lawyer sent a letter back telling mom's lawyer to pound salt.

A notice of motion was made by mom to vary the access to every second weekend because dad was feeding the kids Chili Dogs for breakfast and "if they are eating Chili Dogs for Breakfast, it calls into question what other inappropriate things dad might be doing during periods of time the kids are under his care".

It went to court. Mom had a ten page Affidavit stating that dad is a moron and dad's responding Affidavit said that mom needs to settle down and let dad define his role as a father for himself.

Guess what the judge decided?

He increased dad's access by one day.

Mom was beside herself. Justice wasn't done! Yadda yadda yadda...

Was the judge a fan of Chili Dogs? Nope. Was the judge biased against mom? Nope!

The judge looked at this case and probably said to himself/herself "Jesus H. Christ... this woman is nuts... it's a friggin Chili Dog".

The moral of the story is that we cannot impart our own belief system on a former spouse so we have to pick our battles and not take everything personally. In other words:

a) How relevant are Chili Dogs for breakfast to the best interest of the kids?
b) Is this about Chili Dogs or someone needing to be in charge for the sake of being in charge.
c) Are the kids suffering, failing at school, alienated from friends, depressed and falling apart because they are eating Chili Dogs for breakfast? Nope.
d) Judge says to himself/herself - why is this in my court room today?

Some parents give their kids chili dogs for breakfast. Some give them bacon and eggs and many parents send their kids to school with a bag of chips and a coke. There is no perfect way to raise kids so focus on what you are doing during periods of time that the kids are under your care and leave it at that.
  #26 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2006, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sasha1
Once again, it's not about the parent, ok? It's about the child. If it's best for the child involved that access be graduated, that's what both parents should want. Not every situation calls for that need, but some do.


It is almost always best for kids to have both parents involved in their lives( some rare cases where really it is best for the parent to just get out- but those are rare- we are talking incredibley bad, abusive etc parents) But that doesn't always mean back and forth and their lives incredibly disruptive.

Think about your childhood.... What do you remember- I bet it is the small things that actually were really important - like playing with the kids in your neighbourhood- your peer group at school etc, the ability to just go out and play - having the feeling of security etc. And Decent dad - you mentioned that "And being close together is ideal - but not always a factor." It is an incredibley important thing... having kids have to have 2 sets of friends - if they are lucky enough to make them at the second neighbourhood at all- would really make that kids life pretty tough. I would bet that would influence the kid not wanting to spend as much time with the other parent more then the other parent influencing the kid imo.
  #27 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2006, 01:56 PM
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I read a case that had the "nesting" concept. If I think of the name, I will post a link. Basically the matrimonial home was retained as the home of the children. Both parents shuffled into the home when it was their time for the children to be under their care and control.
  #28 (permalink)  
Old 04-29-2006, 08:58 AM
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As I said earlier, this is a very interesting thread - so I thought I would like to see what contributors have to say to the following scenario:

What would happen if an amendment to the Divorce Act emerged that actually enshrined a rebuttable presumption of 50/50 and the kids are now living in a 50/50 situation, and suddenly the kids now come forward and say, "look dad, I love you and all of that stuff, but this 50/50 thing isn't working so I really would like to stay at mom's house and see you maybe every second Thursday to Sunday?"

What happens next?

Alternatively, what happens if the kids say the same thing to mom?

How do you address it? What do you do?
  #29 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2006, 04:18 PM
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Default 50/50 Parenting

I agree with 50/50 Parenting as it helps both parents remain parents. As of right now, I get to see my children Fourty eight days per year and one evening a week for 3-4 hours. All in all, about 60 days per year. I feel like an Uncle, not a Father.
I have read some studies on 50/50 parenting in the States and most have found that it is benificial for the children when both parents are involved in their lives equally. Another study out say's that the daughters in divorced families have a greater chance of developing Depression when the father is not involved or involved on a small basis.
As long as both parents are consistant in their approch to raising their kids, it really works.
  #30 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2006, 06:29 PM
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Getting them to separate their dislike of each other from the child's right to be raised by mom and dad is the much larger challenge.
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