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Ask the Divorced Woman!
by Maria Costa
Title: Should I Leave the Kids?!
I am just starting the divorce process and I feel totally overwhelmed
with all the questions I have to face. I am a stay-at-home mother of 3
and I have only worked part time jobs so that I could raise my kids and
not have to send them to day care. Now that I am divorcing I am faced
with the reality of having to work and go to school so that I can
provide a good life for my children. It's VERY important to me that I go
to school to secure their future as well as my own ( I had been waiting
till my youngest child had started school to start my own college
because my husband had always made it his priority to go to school full
time as well as work full time. ) None of the paperwork has been started
yet but what we have tentatively agreed to is that he will have primary
custody of the kids for the next two years while I concentrate on
school. ( we will have joint legal) I will remain really close to the
kids and am dedicated to being with them as much as possible. One of the
biggest factors in this decision is that we are currently living in
California because he is in the military and all our family is in North
Carolina and I don't want to take them away from their father. Also if he
gets primary custody of them they can stay in their present house and
stay in their current schools with their friends.(which would be
impossible if I had primary custody) I am just trying to do what is best
for my kids and make a terribly difficult decision as easy for them as
possible. We are writing it into our agreement that the his primary
custody will expire 2 years after the divorce is final and that we will
re-negotiate then. My main concern in this situation is that after
giving him 2 years of primary custody that it will really hurt my
chances after 2 years if we are unable to come to an agreement. I would
really appreciate any input you can give me and I am sorry that this
turned out to be such a long explanation:)
I receive a lot of mail from parents (both moms and dads) who gave up
custody to "school, find themselves, work, etc." and then come back and
get the kids. What happens in a lot of cases is that "things happen".
The children grow apart from you - resentment sets in - when the time
comes to renegotiate - hostilities come up - etc., etc.,
It is a major decision and one that the kids (depending on their age)
need to be brought into the discussions and let them (to an extent) tell
you how they feel!!!! Real important that they are in on the decision
making - otherwise they will be your HARDEST barriers.
Divorce is ugly no matter how you slice it! Kids are always caught in
the middle and often used as pawns when the parents can't agree on
Thread softly and let them know way in advance what the two of you are
thinking of doing and ask the kids "what would be the best in this
terrible situation?" You will be surprised how insightful kids can be!!
Pick up my book "When the Vows Break: Living Through Separation &
Divorce" it will help you with the above questions plus how to join
support groups which you need to do! If you can't find it in your local
bookstore call my toll free number 888-267-3929 PIN #7176.
Maria Costa (Author & Seminar Speaker) A well known certified speaker
and seminar leader, continues to inspire, motivate and challenge people to push their envelopes farther, both before and after experiencing divorce. A graduate of National-Louis University,
with a Masters in Management, Ms. Costa is very active in her community. She
is President of the Board of Directors of the Women's Resource Center, Fredericksburg, VA, President of Hispanic Internal Revenue Employees (HIRE), IRS, Washington Chapter and board member of Professional Women's Network. Be sure to visit Maria Costa's web site
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