Should you wind up at the point where your marriage no longer works and you are considering divorce, you may be lucky. Not that you have to divorce, but that you may be married to a soon-to-be former spouse who recognizes that children are not a possession.
They are independent beings whose parents could no longer live together. But the children are not a tool to be used to get even with or a weapon to be used against the children’s other parent. Their custody arrangement is for their best interest, not yours.
And you may be lucky to find your spouse recognizes that. That co-parenting is about the children and you are only there to facilitate the growth and development. In a posting, a woman discusses how a year after her divorce went into effect, she and her former husband, discarded their custody agreement.
Instead of focusing on whose night was whose, and who was obligated to buy their daughter's insurance, and which holiday went to which parent, they let go. Instead of control, they actually looked at the “best interests of their child” in their decision-making process.
And it worked. Their and undoubtedly her stress levels declined. Can everybody do this? Probably not. But you may want to consider the underlying behavior that allows this to work. This will not necessarily be easier because it will require granting to the person you are divorcing a great deal of slack and grace.
This won’t work if you demand a 6:00 pm handoff to be at exactly 6:00 pm every time. It won’t work if your former spouse forgets to pay for health insurance. It won’t work if you have greatly disparate incomes and that income is used as a coercive device by the child’s other parent.
Discarding a custody agreement is a dangerous step. For most couples, creating a parenting plan that incorporates structure and flexibility is a much safer course. This example shows it can work, but their situation may not be your situation.