Resolving Day-to-Day Custody Conflict in Divorce Situations

When my first wife and I parted ways it was amicable, no battles, we just took our separate paths. Alas that is not usually the case, particularly when there are children involved.  The divorce process becomes a battle ground and the foot soldiers, the canon fodder on the front lines are the children.

The kids become a bargaining chip, often there is little thought given to the lofty idea of doing what is in the best interest of the child, but rather how best to inflict pain and suffering on the mother or father. In fact Jan and I are working a news story right now, it is in part a custody battle, but this one is the custody battle from hell, gag orders, sexual abuse claims, suspected wrongdoings by the authorities, it has it all. To say this case is acrimonious does not even begin to describe it.

Alas nasty divorces are a way of life.

Mike Mastracci has put together a very good and sensible book in Stop Fighting Over The Kids. he is in a unique position to offer his sage advice, number one, he has been through the process himself, and as we all know hindsight is 20/20. He is also a lawyer by trade and has been involved in many of these nasty custody battles.

The author takes the time to explore all of the pitfalls, and there are plenty, that battling parents fall into. Many are seemingly minor things yet can lead to huge ongoing issues. Time keeping is a great example, I know lots of chronically late people, I know they do not do it on purpose, it is just part of their natural makeup. If I say I am going to be somewhere at noon, you can bet I will be there at 11:55, alas not everyone shares my views on punctuality. When it comes to shared custody time keeping becomes an issue, if you are supposed to drop the child off at 5:30, arriving 5 ,10, 15 minutes late may well provoke a fight. It is silly, but when a parent only has a limited amount of time with a child those few minutes make a difference.

Another minefield is the bickering over ‘Stuff’. Mike Mastracci defines ‘stuff’, as clothes, toys, and the other flotsam that accompanies a child. Forgetting to bring back that new jacket that you have just purchased, or that school uniform. Of course it is not the child’s fault, the fault inevitably lays with the other parent!

Stop Fighting Over The Kids should be mandatory reading for parents going though a divorce where there are children involved. Mike Mastracci makes a lot on sense about a lot of different subjects.

One area that he explores really caught my attention. Why would you want a total stranger, as in a judge, make the decisions about what is best for your child? That is a very astute observation. The judge does not know your child, the judge has no intentions of knowing your child. But he will happily make decisions about the long term arrangements for your child. So any divorcing parents that are reading this review. Take this paragraph to heart. Even if you ignore the rest of the sage advice the author has to offer, think very long and hard about this very central concept. Your actions today may dictate what happens 15 years from now!

You can get your own copy of this very useful resource guide from Amazon. There is also a web site to accompany the book

Simon Barrett

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