Thanks to an old typecast that relegated all women to breeders and mothers, women – almost always – achieved primary custody of their children after a heterosexual divorce. Since the 1980s, we’ve seen an uprising of working mothers; some even becoming the main breadwinners of the household. With this seismic shift in gender power, the law courts have be forced to revise their bias towards mothers as primary custodians.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70.5% of mothers are now in the workforce and almost 30% of working wives out-earn their husbands. Still; not all gender roles have been dissolved, when it comes to childminding. Although women now seem to work, as well as their husbands, mothers find themselves performing the majority of the domestic tasks at home.
Now, that’s not always the case, but if you’re a big part of your child’s life, you’ll want that to be reflected in the court ruling. Whether you wish to be the primary custodian, or you’re looking for a 50-50 split, it’s important to tread carefully before you file for a divorce.
Avoid Going to Court
After the big split, the last thing you need is a huge legal bill. Where possible, keep the case out of court and try to come to a fair arrangement through mediation. Keep things as amicable as possible. Even if you have a low opinion of how responsible your ex-spouse is with childcare, divorce often has a sobering effect on previously blasé parents.
It’s often mutually beneficial to come to a 50-50 agreement, as it gives you time off to recharge your batteries, and allows you to have a life beyond the hearth and home. If you suspect at all that your partner will be abusive to your children, it’s advisable to hire a skilled lawyer and escalate the case.
Spend More Time with the Kids
If your career absorbs most of your time, it may be wise to make a change. If possible, reduce your hours at work and open up more slots in your schedule for your children. It’s important to be a visible caregiver – not just for your kids’ wellbeing – but because you could lose custodial rights by being a slave to your work desk. It’s important to put food on the table, but you’re also a parent too, and your life should accommodate for that as much as possible.
If you’ve been lax with parents’ evenings or martial arts classes, make sure you’re there for your children and take an active interest in their life. Realise your limitations and don’t beat yourself up for continuing to work.
Family Time Is Precious
Try to patch things up civilly with your ex-spouse. When there are children concerned, he can be your greatest ally, if you are amicable with one another. There will be issues you’ll have to both agree on and deal with, as your children grow up. And divorce is very hard on kids too; don’t make it worse for them with further animosity. Rely on your family law solicitor to gently and sensitively guide you both through the custodial discussions.
And when it’s your turn to have the children, make the most of it – that’s the golden rule to surviving divorce and sharing your kids.
Disclosure: This is a promotional post.