Some Parting Words
As you have seen, there is a lot for a dad facing divorce to consider. As this guide makes clear, when considering custody matters, your decisions are based largely (if not entirely) on impalpable almost intuitive factors that you cannot be reduced to matters of arithmetic.
This is untrue of the other matters you must deal with in your divorce because everything else is financial (eg, debts, assets, and maintenance). Although forecasts regarding such matters may be difficult, they are nonetheless numerical.
Regarding your children, however, the decision-making process is less clean. Your objective, as you know, is to do the best thing possible for your kids. That is an easy statement to make, but what exactly does it mean for your children? What is “best” and what is “possible”?
To answer these questions, you have to think about a host of factors already discussed. You have to weigh these intangible, often gray factors and make the right call.
Having said that, I want to emphasize this point in closing. Much has been said in this guide about the torrent of emotions accompanying divorce from anger to anxiety to depression. Yet despite these potentially crippling influences on your judgment, you cannot simply call in sick, and therefore your and your children’s interests hinge on your ability to pierce the haze and make rational decisions. Resist the impulse to settle scores with your wife on custody battlefields. This means that you must compartmentalize your grievances and separate those meaningfully related to your children’s welfare from those that are offenses to you personally, however grave.
Hopefully, you are not walking this path alone. In most cases your attorney will be your key advisor, but many of the pivotal considerations are not within his province. For example, under the umbrella of what is “best” are psychological, familial, educational, and other elements with which your attorney is likely unfamiliar.
Therefore it is usually helpful to have the advice of others whose knowledge and judgment you respect. This may include a mental health professional, such as a counselor. However, if you choose this route, first talk to your attorney. Certain friends and family members may be helpful, but select from these pools carefully. Such “advisors” are notorious for pouring gasoline on the fire. Knowing who to tune in also means knowing who to tune out.
I hope this guide has proven useful to you and your children through the divorce process. I wish you and yours the best possible future.
This online custody guide is adapted with permission from “Civil War: A Dad’s Guide to Custody” (266 pages, softcover) – available in our online store.