After the initial separation or divorce,many people opt to take a temporary break from one another before resuming their respective parenting roles. When your ex finally returns to closer proximity of your little family unit, it may come as a threat. How will he manage with your little one? Will he disturb the lovingly created equilibrium you have finally achieved?
Then he drops the bombshell: He wants to spend LESS time with your child, not more.
Sarah's ex recently announced that, since he is planning on moving away again in another 3-5 years, he wanted their four-year old daughter to be used to spending less time with him around. Sarah was flabbergasted, as she expected that he would want to spend more time with Tina, not less. Surely, she thought, this was the perfect opportunity to create a strong bond that would be able to withstand the distance after he moves on again.
The best way to prepare for the role of a full-time single parent is to create a strong support system for your child. Don't hesitate to involve as many friends and family into your lives as possible, and be sure to schedule regular rest times to help you recharge.
Daycare and aftercare programs can be a great help too. Most of them are quite affordable. See if you can find one that works on a drop-in basis because in most cases, they will only charge for the times your child attends. Instead of trying to balance it all as a single parent, use this to find balance.
You will find that laying the groundwork for coping as a full-time single parent, will help you become more relaxed, and you will find your comfort zone once again.
Depending on the specific issues involved, the topics covered by parenting orders vary wildly. This is true regardless of whether these orders were drafted via consent or by the order of the court. Parenting orders typically settle issues surrounding a child’s living arrangements, transfers, holidays, and travelling. However, these documents can also be used to provide guidance on allowable modes of transportation, dietary needs, extracurricular activities, and even sleeping arrangements. In other words, parenting orders are as diverse as the families involved in creating them.
Generally, there are two main principles around which parenting orders can be drafted:
Flexibility: For families with a somewhat intact relationship, it might be better to create parenting orders with less-specific guidelines. While this requires more parent-to-parent contact, it also allows greater freedom. If all parties involved respect and continue to tolerate one another, this type of arrangement may be the best choice.
Specificity: In cases where the parties involved can’t get along, it’s best to create a more specific set of parenting orders. These couples typically use the resulting document to resolve longstanding grievances and issues. By limiting the ambiguity involved, conflict surrounding a child’s living arrangements can be drastically lessened.
It should be noted, however, that parenting orders are not designed to teach parents how to be responsible adults. Outbursts will still happen. Inappropriate things will still be said. The chronically late mother will not suddenly discover her sense of timeliness. Furthermore, no parenting order, regardless of length, can completely erase the need for face-to-face discussion. With years of parenthood ahead of them, it’s likely that divorced parents will stumble upon a situation that no one could foresee. Circumstances change. People change. Never forget that.
Prior to drafting final parenting orders, families should seek the advice of a family lawyer. Doing so ensures that the resulting document will meet the needs of everyone involved.