Being A Gracious Custodial Parent

If you are in the fortunate position to have custody of your child or children, you are to be congratulated. You are one of the unique fathers, who were able to overcome the stereotype that kids belong with mom. While this is cause for celebration, take some time to look over the website and see what some of your noncustodial counterparts have to endure.

It’s not easy being a noncustodial parent. Try to let go of the anger that led to the divorce and do your best to help foster the relationship between your child(ren) and your former spouse. The marriage is over, there was probably a lot of hurt, but the children should not be tools for revenge. Be gracious in your role.

1. Be flexible. Your ex only has the kids for short visits. If there is a hiccup in his or her schedule be gracious enough to trade weekends or meet them at a halfway point if they have a long drive.

2. Be proactive. Send report cards and progress reports with kids or in the mail. Send a school schedule and let the noncustodial parent know when the spelling bee is, and where. Often noncustodial parents feel out of the loop.

3. Send circus tickets with the kids. I’m not kidding. Noncustodial parents love their children too, but child support payments make it difficult to enjoy extras with the kids. This is about the best interest of the children. If your ex has some fun, so be it.

4.Consult with your ex before you make plans. Many noncustodial parents show up for their weekends only to find out that the custodial parent has already accepted an invitation for a birthday party or a sleepover for Junior. Call first. If calling, becomes shouting. Email. It’s only fair. Noncustodial parents want the children to have fun too. You’d be surprised how often they would say, ‘yes.’

5. Return phone calls. How is a noncustodial parent supposed to know that the children are in the bathtub or shower? One major complaint of noncustodial parents is that they can never get through to their kids. If the noncustodial parent is calling at the wrong time, have the children call.

6. Use litigation as a last resort. Child support late or less than it should be? Don’t let the first call be to the lawyer. Try to work out a plan to pay the arrearage. If you don’t need the money…shhhh, forget it.

Maintaining custody is a privilege that not every one enjoys. It should not be a tool to abuse or take revenge on your former spouse.

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