What happened after my ex husband and I threw away our custody agreement.

Every other weekend.
Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm.
Christmas on even years.
Thanksgiving on odd years.
30 day extended visitation in the summer.
Spring break every other year.
No moving out-of-state.
30 days notice with a job change or move.
Child support.
Child support review every 4 years.
Insurance provision.
Split copays.

We were exhausted after the first year of trying to follow along with each detail. Details that were somewhat standard and very general to accommodate a broad span of families. Details that were permanent and signed by a judge. Details that never changed, even when our lives did.

Following these instructions laid out for us made us tired, angry and confused.
We were tired of times and dates and who has her when and what time she needed to be where and on and on. We were angry because of expectations that seemed impossible. We couldn’t always get her by 6pm or drop her off by 8pm, life just doesn’t work like that and occasionally you’re late or early or can’t do it at all. We were confused because it’s a mess.

Have you seen a custody agreement? There’s such a division of time and dates that your calendar is so marker up it looks like a two-year old got a hold of it with box of markers.

Our custody agreement was stressing us out, making us miserable and was causing us to argue. It was crippling the need for us to figure out how to work together as a team.

So we threw it out.
Chunked it.
Shredded it into a million pieces.
Burned it at the stake.

We’ve never looked back, not once.


Instead of being controlling jerks, we decided to give each other some slack and truly stop to think about what was best for our little girl.

Our entire relationship changed after that. The dynamics of co-parenting made a positive switch and we became better parents and better friends. Our daughter became happier and we were all less stressed.

When we threw out the papers we communicated better and developed compassion and understanding towards each other.

We took the time to listen to each other and find out what worked in each of our families. We stepped outside the box and created our own custody agreement that basically say that she’s equally both of our daughter. If she’s with him or me, she’s with family and that’s what matters.

We decided to simply share in the joy of raising our little girl together and to see each others relationship with her as equally important as our own.

We decided to respect each other and each other’s spouses.

When it comes to holidays we just share our time with a huge dose of understanding and grace. We made a choice to not be married and with that we knew that neither of us would have our daughter full-time. For that reason we know that she won’t be with us for every holiday and we’ve learned to not only accept it but to be grateful that she is with the other part of her family getting loved on.

As for child support and insurance, I have no idea what the original papers say. We settled on a child support amount 14 years ago and neither of us have mentioned it since. The person who provides insurance is the person who has the option for the best insurance, that might be him or that might be me. We just do it. We just insure her because she needs insurance. There’s no battle over who carries it or who’s paying more, we just do it. It’s for her and we need to provide, PERIOD. If he thinks about it he’ll he puts money in her school lunch account, if I think about it then I’ll do it. As long as she has lunch money I couldn’t care less which one of us put it in there. When she needs clothes, which ever one of us is in a position to take her shopping does it. They’re her clothes and as long as she has what she needs then I couldn’t care less who bought the clothes, him or me, who cares. My husband and I provide in every way that we can and he and his wife provide in every way they can. She benefits and she is taken care of. Bottom line, it’s all about her.

It’s far more complicated for us to constantly refer to papers drawn up by lawyers (lawyers who don’t know the heart of our family or our ever-changing needs) than it is to meet up or call each other and talk about the changes like adults. It feels good to have my ex husband call up on any given day, not an assigned day by a judge, and let me know he’s picking up our daughter for a dad night.  I can’t tell you what that does to our daughter’s self-esteem and self-confidence. I will say yes to that phone call every single time.

Our daughter isn’t a possession or a puppet. She’s not a pawn or weapon. She’s a little girl who never asked for divorced parents and she needs to feel equally important and cherished at both homes. She needs to see her parents love each other and work together as a team. She needs to see us give each other grace and mercy. She needs to know that broken things can be fixed, maybe not back to the way they were before but in a way that works and is healthy.

I’m not going to lie, it take a great deal of self-respect and respect for the other parent. It takes releasing the need to be in control of everyone and everything and it means that you won’t always have your way. It takes accepting your ex’s decisions in dating and/or marriage and realizing the importance of co-parenting in a healthy way with them as well.

Co-parenting this way means you’ll need to stock pile huge amounts of grace, forgiveness and mercy because you’re going to need a ton of each.

Throwing out the papers made us better people. It made us like each other again and took an unnecessary pressure off both of our shoulders. It made us better parents.

It might be easier said than done, I honestly don’t know because it was the best decision ,as parents of a broken home, that we could have ever made.  We love our daughter far more than any ill feeling we ever had towards each other and because of that we were able to rise above. Because of it our daughter has two stable homes with four parents that adore her and work together in her best interest at all times. Because of our decision to parent this way, our daughter has one big family full of love and abundant grace.

*Side note: I’m well aware that  this can’t always be the case and that sometimes the “other parent” is not healthy for the child. I’m talking about co-parenting situations that can be healthy and productive but have things standing in their way that don’t need to be. Just throwing that out there before the comments start coming in.

259 thoughts on “What happened after my ex husband and I threw away our custody agreement.

  1. I love this! This is how my parents were after their divorce. I had four parents who loved me, and wanted the best for me always. Sadly, as I found out, this is not the norm with children of divorce. My friends told me that they were jealous of how my parents still got along around me. I’m sure they still had arguments, but I never saw them. I even remember one year, my dad sent my step-dad a Father’s Day card, thanking him for being a good dad to me. I loved your post very much!

      • @ Dustin
        *We settled on a child support amount 14 years ago and neither of us have mentioned it since.

        Yes, child support is in play.

      • I’m with you @ Dustin. Take away child support and the story will change. If it’s truly half and half then stop the monthly checks! Come on! My first thought when seeing this…..I bet she still gets the child support…..yeppers. If it’s not important than drop it. (Won’t happen)

      • Child support is still important as long as it’s fair! If the child stays at the mothers house more and does most of the driving,washing of clothes, baths exc..utility bills are higher as well as travel expense. Not to mention school supplies, extra curricular activities, uniforms, groceries, exc. It’s very hard to split a child 50/50. If it was completely 100% equal then I’d agree with no cild support but usually one parent pays more somewhere. When I met my son he had a daughter and I had a son.. they were 1 and 2 ans we loved them like our own now and in most cases we try to be fair all around and think of our children first but child support is still in play. He pays it for his daughter and I (mostly) receive it for my son. I don’t think money should be a big issue but as a good parent you want yo her child taken care of in every way

      • What does it matter if child support is in play? That was the hardest thing I had getting over in my divorce agreement because a lot of responsibility was placed on me (insurance, all clothing purchases, school fees) and the amount my ex chose was lower than what I thought it should be. In the end, I realized that bickering over an extra $100 a month was going to make life more miserable for our girls and I let it go. I can afford my bills along with the additional expenses that were once shared, I just needed to cut back where I could.

        When you have to start co-parenting, you have to drop your ego at the door. It’s not easy, but it’s best for the kids.

  2. I am writing a book on the subject and my incredible journey through international family court, custody and chil support. “Incarcerate Honorable Men to Protect Children” or, “How I Fought The Court and Won…or so I Thought”. It will be a guide for for both, custodial and non-custodial parents….will be available summer 2016.

    • My husband had been struggling with custody and support issues for nearly 3 years. We’ve exhausted all resources. Unfortunately, his ex is not the “co parent” type. It’s truly heart breaking to see his kids suffer the way they do. We are desperate for any help or advice. I’d love to share our story and get some advice from others similar to us.

    • Looking forward to your book. I am a costodial parent and te AG has done nothing for me. The dad who is a dad when its convenient and always about 4K behind in support until taxes times rolls around. I never keep my son from his dad but it’s very hard to let him go when his dad does nothing.

  3. PTL!! I am also divorced and have split custody of my 2 children, now teens, with my ex. We decided from the start that the kids are the focus…what’s best for them is most important. We are flexible with each other’s schedule, go to conferences together, etc….and our kids are stronger and better adjusted because of it. I applaud you for putting your daughter first!!

  4. That’s great that you worked out an agreement that is different than the one filed. Can you imagine trying to put that one on paper? The standard agreement is just to protect all parties involved if a parent becomes indifferent.

    • I understand why there is a standard agreement. What I’m saying is that it didn’t work for us and when we released ourselves from it we were able to be work together towards what was best for our daughter and both of our families.

    • It’s actually not hard at all to get that on paper. My ex and I have a very similar agreement, except no child support as there is no need since we split time equally. We both together went to an attorney, stated how we wanted it and it was drawn up and filed. Very simple process.

      • I think you’re missing her point. They have found a way to do it with GRACE so that no papers are needed. It means a lot more when it’s not drawn up by lawyers on paper and signed by a judge… To the children. Of course someone could type that up, but why? She’s saying they’ve found a way that doesn’t require papers, not that it can’t be done.

      • Tiffany said the point. There is no such thing as Orders that are not in play. Ignorance is no excuse. Get educated and Google to find out how to fix your Orders and do it properly so you have no regrets should your ex-spouse flip a switch and refuse to co-parent. The Orders are for the children not the adults. Write down what you two agree to do and have a Judge sign it. There are no such thing as standard Orders. That is a myth. There are minimum Orders that neither party understand when they get divorced and assume that is the way it is but anything is possible as long as the Judge believes the children are protected in the arrangement. If you find the one-sided Orders one sided and want to extend your time to the other person and in some cases release money, then put it in writing and get an attorney to file it or find Legal Aid in your area to help in cases of low income. When you read all the comments, the general theme is that co-parenting is a minefield so when two parents can find a truce…take advantage of the truce and write down the rules so it raises the floor to your situation. I can assure you the author of the blog says all is great but the happy co-parenting can all change in a blink of an eye.

      • Because it was an amicable agreement, no conflict of interest here. Very nice when that can happen but a majority of the time it does not.

  5. Well said I am divorced and have two kids I wish that it could happen like this for me and them not get used as pawns cause all I want is them to be happy and be able to enjoy every moment that I can with them and all their activities

    • Before my son’s biological father gave up his rights to our son and my husband adopted legally adopted him, we fought constantly about visitation, no matter how agreeable I tried to be. The papers said for us to meet halfway to pick him up and drop him off every other weekend, and his father wanted me to drive the entire way most of the time. He made me send him clothes every visit, even for the 4 weeks during the summer and most of the time they wouldn’t return the clothes and I would have to buy more, so I stopped sending the expensive clothes I was buying and started sending cheaper clothes, which he complained about too. He expected me to buy them copies of school pictures for his entire family, a copy of his yearbook, and also wanted to claim him on his taxes every other year even though he didn’t pay child support for 8 years and I had to work 2 jobs during and after college to support us, so when I refused we fought about that too. His wife used my son as a babysitter for their children who were both toddlers and our son was about 9 or 10. And when we were together he had physically, verbally and mentally abused me for 3 years before we broke up when I was 18 and our son was 2. He spent 3 years in prison for drug charges and violation of probation. My husband has always been more of a father to my son than his biological father was, so when he gave up his rights it was a relief. But I was blessed with the kind of family arrangement you have. As a matter-of-fact, not too long ago, my mother, step-mother, half-sister and I went to a hotel for a spa weekend and all stayed in the same room. The ladies in the spa got quite a kick out of us when we were all getting our massages, pedicures and manicures together and we were all laughing and cutting up together. They couldn’t believe that they get along that well. My step-father gave my dad deer meat every winter and dad would give him part of the cow that he bought every year. They sit around and talk every time they see each other at a family function. I love having a family like that and consider myself blessed to have 4 parents who love me when most kids only have 2!

  6. You might think about getting back together and work our your relationship with each other and be a strong family unit. It seems you both are well on your way.

  7. I am 60 yrs old and my parents divorced when I was 12. As far as I ever knew, there was never a schedule for when my dad could see my sister and me. He had free access always. Even came to our house on Christmas morning while Mom and our stepdad still slept to see what Santa brought us. My stepmom was one of the first to notice when Mom got Alzheimer’s cause they didn’t have a long discussion at a family get together. My friends were all amazed at such harmony. Told them many times how much we cherished them for that.

  8. My ex and I have been divorced for 18 years. We also opted for co-parenting, regardless of what the papers said. We attended every parent conference together, got together once a week for family dinner and game night, and he slept on my couch every Christmas Eve. The kids are 18 & 22 now (we still have family dinner once a month) and they know how lucky, important, and loved they are. It hasn’t always been an easy journey but it was worth it. In the end it was all about the kids and they are the ones that benefited.

  9. Wonderfully said! My ex husband and I live 3 hours apart and we do our best to co-parent our daughter in this way. We do follow a certain amount of our parenting plan that I was luckily able to write 90% of. It’s not perfect, but we make our daughter the main focus! After all, the child(ren) are the most important! 🙂

  10. My ex husband and I have four children together. At first it was a big battle. But after a year we put on our big kids pants and realized what our kids were going through. We don’t have child support, we provide everything our children need. We are both in different relationships, and our children now have four parents who love them more than ourselves. We do holidays together, birthdays, programs, conferences. Their step mom came with two kids of her own, and my ex and her have a child together with another on the way. I threw her baby shower and was there for the birth. We also have started to plan to build a house we can all live together in for the kids, duplex down stairs that will have access to the up stairs on both side, with kids up stairs. One morage, more money to go towards the kids and all kids have access to all four parents all the time. We all love all the kids blood does not matter. The difference it has made in the kids lives is remarkable.

  11. Here’s what was put in writing in my divorce decree: When he brought them home whether it be Sunday evening, after a Holiday, after his long visitations, he was to bring them home clean, and shampooed, and all their homework done and clothes washed. I refused to get them back already tired and have to do homework and laundry. I wanted to be with them before I had to go to work. >>
    Then, to stifle the many questions “SO WHAT DID YOU DO?”, our daughters didn’t even walk in our door. I met them at the door and we went to the Dollar Movie, no matter what was showing. By the end we had something to talk about other then what did they do with Dad.

    • That’s not co-parenting and not even close to the point of this article. It could be worse but, that last bit is kind of mean. The part of the point of the article seems to be happiness that they got to spend time with the other parent and didn’t mention hiding away the relationship with other parent or distracting the kids away from that relationship. You missed the boat. I wouldn’t feel proud of myself for that last part as you seem to be.

      • Thank you for pointing out the OBVIOUS errors in the situation described above. My son’s father, multiple times, wasabusive to him so he isn’t allowed to see him anymore. My daughters father is a drug addict and often goes months with no contact. I would give anything for my kids to have that support team that yours have. I believe it is so important for their mental health and well being. Bless you and your family.

  12. When I was practicing family law, I told every parent as we worked to make a custody agreement that this was being put in place as a fallback option. So that if there was a breakdown in communication, there was something in place which either parent could request be used. In drafting the terms of the agreement, we talked about how holidays and things were already working or what they wanted improved upon. After we got a “I can live with that” agreement figured out, we talked about why they should try to work it out without an agreement. Let’s be honest, you decided to have a child with this person and you also decided you didn’t want to be with that spouse anymore, none of those decisions were made by the child. Deciding to be a parent with someone is a lifelong commitment. Divorce does not change that. Divorce is only a change in the status of your physical and emotional relationship with your partner.

    On another note, I always tell parents not to speak badly of the child’s other parent and not to allow others to speak badly of that person in the presence of the child. Here is why: a child is made up of half you and half your partner. When you or someone speaks badly about the other person, to a child, you are telling them things you don’t like about part of themselves. It hurts the child even in a subconscious level and it is unnecessary.

    At the end of the day, the focus should always be on the child and what is best for them. Newsflash- fighting, arguing or badmouthing an ex is never best. Even is situations where your ex has made you mad or isn’t doing their share. That’s YOUR emotional response to it. Try and shelter your child from that and work through it with the other parent in private. Basically be a good parent regardless of a divorce. My parents tried to do this and didn’t always succeed but they tried. So I understand this from a child’s perspective.

    • This is my mantra! Never will my children hear a bad word about their father come from my mouth! That just tears down their self esteem!

    • On the other hand, if, like in my case, the father is abusive and tries to be destructive to the mom and kids, there’s some degree of reality that has to be acknowledged. Especially as kids get older, ESPECIALLY girls, they need to know that it’s NOT okay to treat someone poorly. If we mutely stand by and let it happen without protest, it sends the wrong signal, maybe makes girls think that it’s okay for men to be like that. This is not always black and white.

  13. I love this! I wish my parents would’ve been this way! I had clothes for dads house and clothes for moms house, and if I wanted to do something I had to plan it around if was going to be at that parents house at that time! Yalls child will be blessed to have an upbringing like this!

  14. I absolutely LOVE this. My ex and I were never married, but got together and pregnant at a young age. Inevitably it didn’t work out for many other reasons than just being young, but we knew that we had one thing that we BOTH wanted and that is a stable home for our son, Brodie. We’re both in relationships now and our son has never known any differnt, we as well as you threw out the papers long ago and it has blessed us more as parents, and as friends. I wish that every case as ours was able to work out the way ours did. It’s so healthy for the child. Thank you for sharing!

  15. We actually have shared physical custody of our 14 year old son. His dad works shift work and because it is a rotating schedule that gets crazy, it is actually worded in our decree that we will work out a schedule ourselves. We sit together at school/sporting events. We both take him out to dinner for his birthday. We have always been flexible with each other and with our son, especially now that he is old enough to have a little bit of a social life. It isn’t always easy but it’s not about us, it is about him. Thank you for this post!

  16. I’m so glad people can patent like this. One my bio dad got with his gf she was very much jealous of us and our bond with our “dad”. He let her run the show we only got to stay every other weekend and one those weekend We had to go bed at 6 because that was her time with him. Finally it came down to where I didn’t wanna go so I got drug out of my mom’s by my wrists and was told on the way that when I was with them I was not allow to talk to my mom ever. And that when he said earlier if I didn’t like it I could go home tomorrow was a lie that I wasnt allowed to leave or me out of there sight. I was in the 7th grade and money went back. He isn’t allowed to talk to me 24 or my sister 20 because he is to busy with her and being her children’s dad. Sad that all parents can’t coparent like you can. He also has a son who is 11 from another women and his gf told him he couldn’t have anything to do with him since he cheated so my half brother had never met his bio dad and my sister and I hardly get to see him. But we have a Samsung step dad that is actually our dad DNA doesn’t always matter and we are very thankful for him. He considers us his children He never ever calls us his step daughters. So happy for children that can have not only have two great parents but four.

  17. I wish I could get my ex to understand these concepts about the two little girls we have together. The oldest will be 3 in December and the other just turned 1 on the 16th of October. Because our children were born out of wedlock, I had no legal rights to them once we separated. When her best friends aunt became her attorney and informed her of this law, she kept my oldest from me for several months until a temporary hearing was held where I was “legally” named the father. Then, and only then, was I able to see my oldest. During this time she was pregnant with #2 who was born in October of last year. Again, because she was born out of wedlock my ex made me wait a couple more months until the final hearing before I was allowed to see her. Again, all because I was “legally” not the father. This was just the beginning of what has become my nightmare over the last year and a half.

    I now how my girls every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Unfortunately my ex will only do what the court order says and that’s it! This means she only allows me to have 2 phone visits on the days the girls are with her and only one day can be SKYPE. She has denied my every request to have additional times with the girls. She has told me that if I want to have more than 1 SKYPE call a week with the girls I need to take her back to court to have the order reflect that. If I want to see them outside of what is in the order I need to take her back to court, again to have it amended. I could go on and on and on.

    Although the court looks at kids as “property”, I wish she didn’t share this view and treat them as such. I wish she looked at out girls in a different light that would result in her doing all that she could to ensure they develop and maintain a healthy relationship with me, as I do for them.

    I applaud those parents who truly look out for the mental and physical well being of their children by putting all ill feelings about the other parent aside. I especially applaud those who see the bigger picture and maintain healthy relationships, if not semi-friendships, with the other parent. Again, kudos to all of you who are able to not live strictly according to the letter of the law, but instead, the spirit of the law for the betterment of your children.

    How I wish those who have been down the road she is heading could reach out to her and touch her heart to open her eyes to the reality of what is ahead for our children, and for us. I am truly terrified of what the future holds and live in fear that she will stop at nothing to

    • I am sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble…. I don’t know where you live, but here, even though the “legal” parent thing is true… one factor they take into consideration if there is joint custody is “fostering a relationship with the ther parent”. If one parent chooses to be as your ex is, and chooses to be diffucult, the other parent has a greater chance of altering a custody agreement to reflect more time with the parent being not difficult. Im not an attorney, or a judge,.. I am just a human services adviocate who assists with a lot of custody cases… so I can’t say what a judge may or may not do but i do know that in kansas “the ability to foster a relationship with the other parent” is a factor in determining custody.

    • This breaks my heart for me. Don’t know where you live but some states can favor the Dad id Mom is that spiteful. Might think about getting a CASA advocate who can document that she is inflexible. They are free assigned by the court to advocate for the children. My son has his son daily. They were never married and co parent daily. They work different shifts. I wish you the best. Stand firm in your beliefs.

  18. I love this! This is how I’ve always wanted it to be. I’m curious though! Have you had any issues with your ex’s spouse or anything!? My problem with my ex is that his spouse steps on my toes and acts like mom. She contradicts everything I say and goes behind me, say after I discipline my son, and does it herself thinking her word is above mine. It has caused a huge break in mine and my ex’s relationship regarding my son! Causing is to HAVE to go by the papers!

  19. Nice posting. The best way though is to think of children in the first place and start showing compassion for the other parent before divorce. This will avoid a lot many divorce that occur because of frivolous reasons,if parents put children ‘s interest ahead in the first place. Every child deserves two parents.

    • I don’t think that showing compassion for another parent will necessarily prevent divorce. We don’t know the circumstances of thier divirce, just as no one knows the circumstances of mine… it is not better for a couple to stay married for the sake of thier children, it is better for the parents to know that they are hurting their child when they do not get along, for whatever reason. Just because they can’t get along as a married couple, does not mean that they cannot get along as an unmarried couple and coparent. I have done this with my ex for nearly 12 years. We still take family vacations together, we still call on each other for help, beyond what our daughters need from us, and still call and laugh and joke with each other as if we were best friends. We make better friends and better parents for our daughters because we can be friends; we simply have a third person (my current husband) to participate in the family functions. Both parents can be available to children regardless if they are married or not.

    • There aren’t a significant number of divorces that happen for “frivolous” reasons. Many people break up due to very painful and destructive circumstances, so “compassion” won’t be much of a solution.

      That is also the reason that the author’s situation will not work for everyone. Working together with no legal intervention is not an option when one of the parents has a personality disorder, has adopted a significantly different lifestyle, has no boundaries, or views the child(ren) as property.

      However, there are some situations where, no matter what happened in the past, both parents are mature and put the child’s best interest first. It sounds as if this is the case for the author, and I am genuinely happy for her and her family.

    • I agree, broken marriages are very sad regardless of how good of a relationship a person has with their ex. My heart is broken over my dad’s infidelity, and the way it ruined my parents’ marriage. In a perfect world there would be no divorce at all.

  20. My husband and his ex struggle with the informal agreement that they have. My bonus princess is 7 and has been going back and forth between our 2 houses almost her entire life (since 1.5yrs old). Lately though, their informal agreement hasn’t been a good thing. Excuses keep being made for why she can’t come here and her mother has started avoiding any communication with either of us. It’s heartbreaking because I can see that her mom is going out of her way to keep her from even wanting to come here. I’m glad it’s worked for you guys, but I’m afraid we’ll have to go through legal channels to get any time with our oldest princess again.

  21. My ex and I are the same way as this!! Glad to know others can coparent the same way! We have never went by our divorce papers. Our daughter’s feelings are worth more than paper!

  22. We try to keep my grandaughter from her fathers girl friend convicted felon of 4xs meth identity forge checks meth agin he was order to be supervised he would not show up we would be left holding the bag to try to explain why he wouldn’t show up but in a way a 5 yr old would understand and keep her dad still a good guy it was hard we fought him till now she fixing to be 7 yrs old she big enough to call us r 911 if feeling up set r scared but but she is loving it I’m glad I just hope his girlfriend is truly change I pray for her and she doing good with everything

  23. I love hearing that my ex husband and I are not the only divorced parents that do this. When we separated we didn’t divorce for a while. We let our daughters choose who they were going to live with, as long as the rules we had in place were followed. Our daughters had to tell the parent they were living with that they wanted to move, and why; they were not allowed to move int he middle of a school year without extenuating circumstances, if they chose to move from one parents to the other, once school started… they had to wait. Most of the time we lived in the same town, but even when my son’s (from a prior relationship) health took my 2500 miles away, we abided by these rules, and by what our daughters wanted. When we came to visit for the summer (8 weeks) the first year, one of my daughters went back with us, one stayed with her dad. When we did decide it was time to file for divorce. I filed. When the judge read the paperwork she asked me “Don’t you want custody of your girls?” My response: “Of course I do, but more so I want them to be happy. They have grown here and want to live here. My work has taken me 2 hours South, and they don’t want to live there. I would rather have them here with their dad, where I know they will be happy, than with me and miserable.”
    My ex and I have always told people (including my current husband) that it doesn’t matter what is in those papers. What matters is that we can make decisions in the best interest of our daughters. What matters is that we are good enough frineds that we can co-parent. Those papers are there to fakl back on in the event that something happens to one of us… nothing more. My current husband didn’t understand this at first… just as he didn’t understand when my ex brings my girls to visit for a weekend or week… he stays, too.
    We have had issues with my daughter (now 15, she was 5 when my ex and I separated) not respecting my current husband. MY ex husband brought her to our house and told us what she was doing… then looked at her and said, “You have it better than most kids, you have 3 parents who love you and will do anything for you… not just 2.” That was all it took. We haven’t had another problem in this regard. We are a true situation of co-parenting… but with 3 parents, not just 2. When we have to have a “teenage” discussion with one of our daughters, attend school or social events, whatever the situation… my ex husband, myself and my current husband are all three involved.

  24. My x husband and I did something very similar to what you did & it was an absolute god sent miracle. We have two boys who are now 18 & 19 now. Around 1999 or divorce was final and there came along the precise time exchange & location. Our quarrels were so bad at one point we exchange boys at the local PD at one point. Soon though we both just broke down and talked, agreed to share the boys, no more arguing, no more tension. ‘Friends’ over the years encouraged me to take him back to court for more than $240/ month in child support. Listen ladies…..money doesn’t make your children happy. Loving caring parents make your children happy! We shared sports, school & clothing expenses. We agreed not to move out of state so the other parent could remain close. As the boys got older we agreed to have an ‘open door rule’ since I was primary all I ever asked the boys to do was text or call me if they went to their dad’s so I knew they were ok. Holidays we actually celebrated together. My family still treated him as their son in law and treated his current wife and child as family too. Their daughter was a birth grandchild in their heart & minds. Our boys are still very family oriented they actually spend more time with their parents than with friends.
    I know this may seem ‘strange’ to some but in our eyes we are family and our kids are happy, we aren’t stressed. Be thankful, respectful & kind. We have one shot & one shot only at raising our children….broken home or not!

  25. I wish my ex would agree with me to do this, but it would never happen anytime soon. We have a communication problem on his end. It was to the point where I had to discuss with his mother. Now I’m discussing with his wife.
    Our divorce drug out for 2 years because he was refusing to sign the papers. We have joint custody and no one pays child support. My daughter was 2 1/2 and his family would talk to her about everything from the divorce papers to our arguments we had.
    The self confidence you mentioned, is so true! She felt like she was in egg shells when we would meet to have our exchange. She’s fixing to turn twelve now and her self confidence and self esteem is not high. I just wish he could be more understanding and put the past and our differences behind us and look forward to working together and coparenting more.

  26. My parents divorced when I was 14 and 40 years later, both my parents continue to come together at holidays. They never said a bad word about each other. My son and his ex also co-parent. They adjust schedules and times as needed. Neither pays child support. We all eat dinners together, celebrate our granddaughter’s birthday together and attend parent conferences together. What is surprising to me is how many of their “friends” question this. My ex daughter in law has had multiple of her friends and aquaintanaces question her co parenting and friendship with her ex. They do their best to stir up trouble and place doubt in her. These nosy do no gooders would do well to study how my son and his ex co parent and try to imitate it in their own divorces. Too bad their bitterness in their own divorces will affect their children in a negative way. How dare someone say that exes co-parenting as friends is worse for the child than feuding, hate filled, insult hurling, parenting!

  27. I absolutely LOVE this.. my parents hated each other and faught lile crazy and it hurt us kids more then it hurt them! Now we have hardly anything to do with the other parent because they disnt think of us kids.. this is amazing god bless you all!!

  28. This is all fine and dandy except that you can burn the paper that the custody agreement is printed on but there is still a copy on file with the 3rd part that the parents have entered into an agreement with: the State Family Court… and either parent can chose to invoke that 3rd party’s authority regardless of how the other feels about it and what they agree on after the fact.

  29. love this!! My mom was very much wanting to co parent. But my dad was more interested in attacking her and getting his word in whenever he could… My whole life. I’m 28 now, married with two kids… My dad STILL talks about how my mom didn’t stick to whatever plan and how she’s basically a horrible person.

    My dad and I no longer have a relationship or speak. That kind of anger and negative energy is tiring for everyone.

  30. Reblogged this on ANewKindOfMommy and commented:
    This is how co-parenting should be nowadays. I applaud this couple for taking parenting beyond the court system and being adult enough to handle it, because no one knows your child better than you. Wonderful story! Thank you for sharing.

  31. Amen! My ex and I get along better now that we’re divorced than we did when we were married. We do meals out with our daughter, events, birthday parties, family things, etc. We are lucky to live only about 20 minutes apart. We, along with our significant others, attended her dance recital recently and she loved having such a large “audience”! Sometimes he gets the short end of the stick because she’d usually rather be with me (bigger room, more toys), but it’s working out well for everyone.

  32. I love this, when my husband and I divorced over 20 years ago it was just stated in our divorce that I had primary custody and he had reasonable visitation rights. there was no set days or anything all my ex had to do was call and ask for time with our daughter which I only denied once and that was because at that time he was so far away and she was only 8 or 9 years old and he wanted her to fly by herself cross country and I thought she was to young. He was a traveling nurse and he always made sure she was taken care of even if he couldn’t be there. He told my current husband when he married me 17 years ago that he was marring his best friend and that he better take good care of both of us and yes my husband has and my daughter will tell you she has two dads.

  33. It would be nice to be able to parent like this. My son is now 4 and we had him out of wedlock. My sons father chose drugs and alcohol instead of his young child, all while i still encouraged him to see our son. It got to the point where i wouldn’t let my son go over there because of the drugs laying around the house and knives and a lot of dangerous objects sitting out in arms length for a curious toddler.
    He has since had another child with one of the girls he cheated on me with. She hates me for some reason? i had never even spoken to her and she claims my son as her own and talks poorly about me. It is sad that my son has to deal with this. He now has court ordered visitation. Which is fine by me, i have always encouraged him to have a relationship with our son. However, we would get along a lot better if it wasn’t for his girlfriend. She is just out for herself, again thinking she is my sons mother and that i am an awful person. My sons father and i can communicate when she isn’t around, or doesn’t have his phone. If that’s the case she will respond to texts, and if its in public he isn’t allowed to speak to me.
    I always feel like the bad guy too when my sons father comes to pick him up for his weekends. My son clings to me and cries and doesn’t want to go, i have to force him to go. Even when i try to get him excited about going he cries at just the thought. He comes home Sunday nights dirty, and stinky. He has nightmares about being at his dads. It worry’s me a little about what goes on when he is there.
    I applaud those that can co-parent like this. I think my sons father (24) and his girlfriend (24) have a lot of growing up to do before we could ever think to getting to this level. I just hope that when the time comes where our son can make his own decision he doesn’t write them out of his life because of how they treat him.

  34. I am a divorced father of a 7yr old boy and 4 yr old girl. 50/50 timeshare and its been ok between my ex and myself and the kids have a stable home at both places. However, we are harldy friends and don’t really work together. Kind of by the book. How did you agree on a timeshare split and holidays? You mentioned you threw your papers out but that’s what the papers are for no? Because you also mentioned you understand you can’t have them for every holiday. I assume that was agreed on in the paperwork. You sound very happy with your current arrangement so how did you agree on things? Is your current timeshare different then what yiu two originally came up with? I’m always looking for ways to make things more comfortable so any input is appreciated.

    • Our daughter is 15 so she can decide where she spends the holidays. If one of us has fmaily in town then she usually goes to that house to see them. If one of us is doing something fun or out of town then she will go with us. If we are all going to be home then she’ll do half days or whe will all get together. We used to do birthday parties together but now that she’s a teenager she kind of does smaller get togethers with friends and we work around that. . We just do whatever works best.

    • 1. Don’t talk bad to the children about their Mom. 2. Agree not to be a Dad that just entertains them, offer to help with their everyday lives: dr. visits, school work, etc. 3. Make sure if they have grandparents and cousins, etc. that the kids get time and some holiday time with them. 4. If you keep to your current by the book for awhile, then she will be more willing to cut some slack, and make some changes. 4. Don’t bring in girlfriends all the time around the kids. If she’s really important, then slowly have her for dinner, etc, build up from there.

    • I think you should talk to your children’s mom. Maybe send her copies of this post and then set a time to meet and talk with her. Focus on wanting to build a friendship. At some point before the divorce you were friends. Aside from the kids you have to have something in common. You both need to focus on building that friendship among yourselves. It’s not about who she is with or who you are with. It didn’t work out between you so you need to let that go. Once you do that it’s easier to accept the significant others that come along. That friendship is the gift for your children. It makes it easier for you to forgive and not get your feelings hurt. When you were married you if you already had holiday traditions in place with your different families, consider going back to that. If not or that won’t work, then talk about scheduling with mom so everyone gets something. Maybe as a friendship builds you could find a way to do some holiday activities together. one of the biggest hurdles is when you and your ex do not agree on parenting styles. Those are things you need to discuss and come to a consensus to in order to make relationships like these work. Good luck!

  35. Your daughter is very fortunate. My parents have been divorced for 10 yrs and have not spoke since. My dad choose to disown us when he got remarried and after claiming her children, me and brother felt left out. I would love for my parents to be like yall. But there is a reason for everything. God is in control. Thank yall so much for the touching post. One day, your daughter will look back and thank yall for all the love and support.

  36. “Co-parenting this way means you’ll need to stock pile huge amounts of grace, forgiveness and mercy because you’re going to need a ton of each.”

    So true and honest! I love this. I am a step parent trying to co-parent. It’s hard and this sentence resonates.

  37. This is exactly what we did with our parenting agreement. It was just a source of complete and utter frustration for us. Our kids are now 21 and 18 and they have loved their childhood and ate able to say that both of us loved them and cared for them without all the fighting. My ex is actually my best friend.

  38. I am going through a separation with my husband and I am finding it extremely difficult! This is the part I do not understand (no judgement here) truly trying to understand! If your daughter is so important and you both were willing to do what is best for her then why didn’t you work on the marriage so she didn’t come from a broken home? In this piece it talks about being better parents, better friends and showing her you both love each other. Why wasn’t that able to help the marriage survive? I am still in the confused stage of this process and I am trying to see why so many people choose this path and why they come out on the other side feeling like everything worked out so wonderfully. Thank you for sharing this!

    • I don’t know anything about the poster’s marriage, but there’s a lot of people who cannot be spouses even though they are great parents. One of the hardest aspects of divorce is separating your relationship as parents from your relationship as spouses. Many times, people are actually better friends apart than they ever were as spouses.

  39. This is so very true. With my ex we don’t refer to our divorce decree, he is military and his wife with get our son when my ex is gone. He gets leave at random times so he will take our son as much as he can. I am praying we will get to this point with my husband’s ex. I know how freeing it can be for the parents and the child. Our son can come home and say he wants to go to his daddy’s so we call and ask. I love the coming and going, our son is the most stable child out if the five of them. 🙂

  40. I’m delighted you and your ex could put the needs of your child ahead of your own as well as get new spouses on board with this arrangement. I’m sure your child will benefit greatly not just from the love and support but also from the role modeling you and your ex and the new spouses are doing. Children are like sand: the harder you try to hold on to them, the faster they slip through your fingers.

    As a divorce lawyer, I take exception to the idea that lawyers just force this stuff on people. State legislatures require that there be court orders that protect both parent’s right to have time with the child and require both parents to share the costs of child-rearing. I always explain to clients that they can go way beyond the visitation schedule if they want. The visitation schedule is a baseline of what a court will enforce if the parents are in conflict. Had someone’s new spouse been focused on making like miserable and the communication broke down, there is a very specific schedule that ensures no one is excluded from the child’s life. Lawyers and judges don’t come up with these orders just to make people crazy, complicate their lives, or line our pockets. They’re required by law and you guys have obviously done a lot to ensure that you don’t need them enforced.

  41. I watched a movie once that was called, who gets the house? It was great. The parents both moved out to separate apartments. The children stayed in the family home with each parent taking a turn at living in the family home with them. I think it was a week at a time. I thought it was a great idea. That way the children were not disrupted. They kept their rooms, stayed in the same school, played with children in the same neighborhood that they had grown up in. What a great concept. If only…

    • This is Bird’s nest custody, a method in child custody that leaves the children in the home after divorce with the parents rotating in and out on a regular basis. This concept is a way to minimize the trauma of divorce for your child. While this may not be an option for many parents, imagine how this could benefit the child!
      This method clearly shared in the motto:
      Divorce is between the parents-ABOUT THE CHILD!

    • I tried to do this – the idea was that I would be in the house during my parenting time, and not be in the house during his parenting time. I stayed in the guest room in the basement, but did all the cooking, cleaning, gardening, and laundry like usual while I was there. Because this was the initial arrangement, I didn’t take half of the furniture, dishes, kitchen items, holiday stuff, or anything like that. I didn’t want to change things too much for my kids, to disrupt their lives any more than I had to. But, out of the blue, a month or two after the divorce was finalized, my ex changed the locks on the door, threatened me with police if I stepped on the property, and basically kept everything in the house. Even now, 6 years later, he still has things that came from my parents, all the holiday stuff, furniture I refinished, etc. He refuses to discuss when/how we will finally divide up the household items. Now he has another woman living in the house, who probably wouldn’t want to be surrounded with another woman’s stuff if she knew. My point is, even if you think you are going to have a nice, cooperative, alternative co-operative co-parenting relationship, if you think your ex is going to behave fairly and reasonably, don’t make my mistake and “assume” it will all work out. Get it all in writing first, and THEN if both people show that they can be adults, you can slowly work out your own arrangements. Otherwise, you might find out your ex has effectively thrown you out of your home and your children’s lives and you have no legal recourse.

  42. We threw out the custody agreement when they stopped showing up for visitations. I’d rather raise my kids with their stepdad than force a deadbeat to be in their life.

  43. This is where I hope myself and my ex husband can get one day. He’s starting to get on the right path and I would love to have this type of relationship. My child isn’t a piece of paper… I want him to be present in both our lives whenever he wants and when we have things to do with him.

    Congratulations on making it work… not only for your daughter but what I can only imagine is much less stressful for all involved.

  44. My mom said something to me one day and it changed everything for me… I LOVE my daughter and she was the light of my life, her mother, not so much… She hurt me and I was angry.. one day of complaining my Mom looked me dead in the eyes and said “It’s not about you anymore, it’s about your daughter.” Yeah that changed my outlook that very second… All the BS left my mind and I paid my support but I also took my daughter school clothes shopping.. it became a tradition that Dad buys her the shoes she wants for the start of school… she wanted to go to the movies with her friends the money was there either by her mother or myself… We got along better, if there was a problem we talked about it. If something was going on I was told about it, I got copies of all the report cards, all the school information. Yes this is MUCH better for your child because it’s not about you… it’s about him or her or them. I’m a father and I love your post… doing what’s best… for the right reasons.

  45. I think this is awesome and I agree 100%. The only reason the papers should be followed is if it is a bad divorce or an unpleasant situation. Both parents are equally as important. I would hate for someone to tell me I couldn’t see my kid but every other weekend therefore I would never do that to the father of my children.

  46. This would have been great but my EX is beyond two faced. In front of people posing as a good parent wanting to coparent. Then sends abusive messages, interrogates the children, lies, makes false accusations having county workers come to my home to harass me and the kids, sends people to my home to threaten and stalk us. Then next minute says forgive me and we should coparent. There is no trusting this person for any second. When using children to get “even” with the other parent is a disgusting and harmful thing to do to the children. I wished the EX was mature enough to even act with an ounce of maturity.

  47. I have 2 older sons. They have not seen or heard from their “dad” since 2007. We were divorced in 2005. I remarried in 2010. We had 2 more boys. He left for a guys weekend in 2014 and sent me pictures of him and naked women. When he got home, he threatened my older 2 boys that are not in any way blood to him. I called the authorities, and he was removed. He keeps trying to apologize and wants to move back after I had to pay for everything. Now that the bills are settled, and I am a single mama of 4 boys. Well, I wish my life was simple, but God apparently has me doing this for a reason. I read your story just wishing I could relate. I am unable to. I do applaud you and your ex for the hard work. And even the new spouses for being so kind and understanding.

  48. When I was about 3 years old, my parents separated (but never divorced). I remember going to see my dad and he would have Hershey’s Kisses hidden behind the door for my sister and I. He would play his guitar for us and try to show us how to play. I told my dad a few years ago (I’m now 46) that they were only separated for about 6 months because that’s what it felt like. He said, no, it was 2 years. It felt like a short period of time because of the way they parented. My dad even had a key to my mom’s new house, and he could come and go as he pleased, and we could go visit him whenever we wanted to. They never bad-mouthed each other in front of us (and I don’t think to each other either). He said the separation was because my mom “needed to find herself” and he was not about to hold her back from being happy. I still swear it was only 6 months, but it actually was a 2-year-long separation. They were married 25 years when mom passed at the age of 47 (I was 20) from a brain tumor. I still think I had the best parents anyone could ask for, but I may just be partial :).

  49. This is awesome. My parents were cordial n communicated. I loved my life. As a stepmother life’s not so easy. I only wish that for my stepchildren one day we could all get to this place. It takes putting egos n differences aside. You guys are awesome. Love this blog.

  50. I have a question about how you’ve done this. Does your daughter primarily “sleep” at one household mostly, especially during school weeks? I just have reservations about my child being in between different homes every other week while in school. I would love to be able to work with my ex husband in this way, and I want him to be a part of our sons life as much as possible. But at times I don’t feel comfortable agreeing to split down the middle one week with me and one week with him.

    • Our daughter is at my house during the week for school reasons. We ae not zoned for the same school. She does spend at least one night during the week at her dad’s house, if not two but he picks her up from school and takes her the next day. She has everything she needs at both houses so there is not need to back a bag.

      • Thank you so much for the reply! The ultimate goal is to be able to coparent in this way. It’s going to be a very big learning experience and take a lot of work on both sides!

      • I think the main thing is two “mature” people working together! It will work out if you both want is best for the child or children!

    • My Daughter (now 14) has been in your above arrangement since she was 11 months old. She is a straight A student and very happy. Her father and I work together on everything and it shows in her attitude and behavior. I was also scared of the arrangement but the effects of it has been FANTASTIC!

      Every other week works brilliantly in my case. We support each other and she knows it.

      I hope it works as well for you!

    • Time out. Wednesday 6-8 says it all. The inferences here and lack of legal accountability and even advise to parents on how to handle custody is dangerous and naive. Your own words say the father only gets your daughter once maybe twice a night. As a divorced parent, that is unacceptable. What I am reading is the dad is busy and you get to raise the child. If I let my ex have our daughter per your arrangement she would be happy as well. Would you allow your daughter to flip the arrangement assuming the dad is interested? If you believe in what your doing, why not put it in writing and let a Judge sign it pro se as the current Order. If your so good agreeing with your ex, why as a Christian are you divorced? The answer is your leaving out a great deal of detail. My wife is a top notch Family Lawyer working in a Christian non-profit that helps families in divorce and her focus is entirely on the children. She accepts no case unless she believes she can help the child. She would be appalled at this article and the simplistic view of co-parenting.

      Your Order is a minimum and you can as parents choose to operate as you want but the State has an interest in the financial welfare and unless the primary parent is in agreement…the State will make sure the child support is paid at a rate the law prescribes.

      In my situation, my daughter wanted to spend more time with her Dad. Her mom wanted to move and send our girl to a horrible school. I said great…you can move but our daughter needs to go to the best school available to us and WHAM! the co-parenting ended. The polite ex turned into a manipulating and angry person. $50,000 later I was able to get the Judge to lock my ex down to one school or else my daughter was to going my house. Everything is different now and my daughters eyes are open to the complex nature of living between divorce parents that your article grossly misrepresents. The folks in the thread that cheer you on have no idea how fast the co-parenting environment can change.

      If either parent ignores the Orders and lets one parent create a new norm over an extended time, the Judge will 100% view the arrangement as status quo for the child and the opposing parent will not have an Order to argue to enforce. In short, if one parent is “nice” and goes off the grid as you described, that parent will be “up a creek without paddle” legally should that “nice” parent want to balance the time or establish a new norm for the child.

      Let’s be clear, you control your daughter and the father is per the Order he signed without much say in how your daughter is raised. I know this because my wife does this everyday and I have been threw hell to provide access to my child to her dad. Your daughter’s dad is happy to let you run the show. I know this based on what you said.

      If one parent leaves a marriage and does not want to share the children 50/50, your article is worthless. As a Christian, your inference that somehow God is part of your blessed arrangement is deceptive. Your situation only exists because your daughter’s father made a decision to not be directly involved in the day to day activities. He put his career and money ahead of the relationship with his daughter. That is not uncommon in this world even the Christian community. I could never accept as normal to only see my daughter once a week…if you only saw your daughter once a week that would be OK? Clearly, your not co-parenting as equal parents. I am convinced that I could ask you a dozen questions about your wonderful co-parenting and debunk much of what you said as anything but special.

      • 6-9 on Wednesdays is what the original agreement said. We do not go by that which is the whole point of the article. He has her whenever he wants. We split time equally. The rest of your comment is off base and uncalled for.

      • Wow! Sounds like you are bitter so you’ve chosen to attack this woman because they have reached an agreement that works well for them and most importantly for their daughter. I don’t care what you do for a living, you are way off base here. Maybe you need to stop being mad and realize they are doing this for their daughter. It’s most likely not always easy but they have put their daughter’s needs before their own. Such a shame it can’t be that way for all children of divorced parents or parents that were never together in the first place.

      • Wow for your “wife” to be a “family lawyer# you are mistaken and rude. Stop trolling and go get a hobby.

      • This article clearly states what works for them and how the court paper work was too strict and binding and how they set out together to seek what would work for them and the child. She isn’t forcing her set up on anyone. You are way out of line with the 100% bashing of what they do. If it works for them then it isn’t your concern. Not every marriage that breaks up has a good parent and a bad parent. I know lots of people who are divorced and they don’t follow the visitation agreement…because it doesn’t work for them. People move, changed jobs and sometimes after the divorce dust has settled they even get along, sometimes better than when they were married to each other. The judge doesn’t know everyone’s life story personally therefore how can he expect them to follow 100% to a tee the visitation agreement? He can’t! And yes there are some instances that the visitation agreement should and has to be 100% followed because of how things are in that particular situation. I am divorced and I moved to another town with my children and I allowed their father to come by my home and see the kids anytime. I allowed him to come get them anytime he wanted to take them to dinner, movies, etc. My daughter is old enough now that she can drive and goes and sees him when ever she pleases. I don’t stand in the way of their relationship. Don’t judge this woman….be happy for her and her ex that they can get along and do what is best for the health and happiness and well being of their child!

      • You sound so bitter and unreasonable, it’s no wonder coparenting did not work for you.

        I have been in the author’s situation for years with equal success. My children are thriving and happy. I applaud her article and am disgusted at your comment.

      • Just one question for you “ward camp”: If your wife is a Christian and is against divorce because of her beliefs, than why is she “a top notch Family Lawyer working in a Christian non-profit that helps families in divorce”!!!???

      • Why as a Christian are you so judgemental? And why is your wife a DIVORCE LAWYER? You’re bashing for the author being divorced.. yet your wife is a top notch Christian non-profit divorce lawyer. Hmmm. Hypocritical much? What ever happened to ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE and LOVE THY NEIGHBOR?? Sigh. Sounds like you’re quite bitter…

      • WOW!!! I cannot believe how off base you are! I think you only read the first few sentences and wrote an incredibly mean and hurtful message without throughly reading the entire article. Your tone is hurtful and completely uncalled for! You owe her an apology!

        I am so incredibly impressed by this story…coming from a broken family I know first hand how hard it is on the kids. As I’ve gotten older and watched friends go through their situations I can only pray they’ll read this and realize how damaging their behavior really is. Kids should NEVER be used as a weapon against the other parent PERIOD!!!

      • I hope *you’re* not the parent that helps *your* daughter with her grammar homework, sir. Your misquotes of the article and lack of elementary level writing skills make you appear uncreditable, therefore voiding your whole argument.

      • You’re an idiot and everything you have stated sounds terrible and holds no truth. From your reasons of her being a “bad” Christian (which is absurd and extremely uncalled for) to her being a “bad” parent. The article is about two people who love God and their child more then they love themselves…that is a beautiful thing not many people (clearly one being you) could do. Sorry your ex and you couldn’t figure that concept out and had to go through court set instructions, paying so much money. The point of this article was what a blessing it was to have two people who didn’t have to do that. They then got to spend that $50,000 (which gets to go in your wives pocket) on their child, not a lawyer. This article was awesome and shows what I wish this society could be.

      • Ward Camp, you are a bittter person. Being a Christian has nothing to do with this matter. What they did for the sake of the child is great. I know divorces that have been done “by the agreement” and others that do it their own way. The second way the children were so much happier and so were the adults. You say your wife was a lawyer and only thought of the children. I guess she didn’t do that in your case. My husbands divorce from his 1st wife was very difficult. The visitation schedule was awful. The child suffered. Back in the 70’s and 80’s it was different than today. You didn’t hear of co-parenting. I think their agreement is the way to things for the sake of the child (ren).

      • For a Christian, you seem to judge quite a bit. Not every situation is the same, not every situation is like yours, which seems to have left you bitter. I’m sorry for that. I made a point of making sure my girls got to spend as much time with their dad as possible, when he was amenable to it. Because it IS about the children.

      • as a fellow Christian i must say I am disappointed in how you just attacked a fellow human being and passed judgment on her and her situation all based on an article. It sounds like you are divorced as well….. Please rethink your approach next time you call out another one of Gods children. As Jesus once said…. Those who are without sin may cast the first stone. Please my fellow Believers

      • I believe that you are making unwarranted assumptions and accusations based on reading this post through the tinted lenses of your own experiences. Your daughter’s mother and you were not able to peaceably co-parent. That is too bad, for all parties involved. However, this author was able to make this arrangement work and is simply letting others know that it CAN be done IF both parties agree. This is good, for all parties involved.

        Nowhere in this article does she “recommend” that other parents take this action simply because it worked for them. She simply put her story out here for others to read and to see that there are non-traditional ways for former spouses to successfully co-parent their children. She is simply recommending that all parents in this type of situation look BEYOND the court papers and beyond themselves to seek the best for the children.

        Yes, many divorce attorneys, counselors, and judges try to do what is best for the children, but there are times when they miss the mark simply because both parents are willing to accept the “generic standards” of the traditional orders and agreements. If both parents are willing to go above and beyond those orders to provide whatever is needed to the child(ren) they, by all means, LET THEM! The children will only benefit from it!

        As for attacking the author’s Christianity based solely on her divorce experience, be careful where you tread. First of all, her salvation is not for you to judge. The reality is that divorce effects everyone – the churched and the unchurched. Secondly, should we question your wife’s role or employer? How can an organization bill itself as “Christian” while performing services related to divorce? See, that judgmentalism cuts both ways. Leave it to God to sort out.

        Finally, to the original author…I congratulate you and your former spouse for being able to rise above the negative emotions of your divorce and focus together on making the best of the situation for your daughter. She is lucky to have both of you – and your supportive new spouses – in her life! Congratulations on creating the silver lining of the cloud! Rock on, Mom and Dad! You’ve got this!

      • I worked 12 years for a major state’s child support division and read your article. These situations are not unheard of, but were fairly common where the parents wanted to make a sincere effort to co-parent. I just want to point out that by tossing out the court order is creating a slippery slope in what is in the best interests of the child. We emphasized in the establishment of the child support order that the court order for standard visitation and joint managing conservatorship set the boundaries in relation to the child or children. As long as they mutually agree, then they could handle the custody and visitation as they see fit. The order would then be a fall-back if the agreement broke down. As for ‘tossing out’ child support, I have seen several cases where the parties agreed to ignore the payments and then, after several years pass, the custodial parent demands what they are entitled to and the payor has a large money judgement put on that will take the payor years to pay…with statutory interest.

      • One, thank you for taking the time to share your experience. It does sound great. I wish my ex-wife and I could get anywhere close to what you have. Your point about giving up control is very hard for her. We fight more now than we ever did while we were married. This person above clearly has had a similar experience to mine and it’s coming off wrong in my opinion. I am not even sure where the whole Christian angle came from either.

        What would be interesting would be to hear your husband’s point of view and thoughts. I have found being a single father far more difficult because the mother is viewed as the primary caretaker of all things, particularly as it relates to school. I work full time, my wife works part time and thus I can’t always have the ability to be with her even on “my” days.

        Again, thank you for writing a thoughtful, well-written, outside the box perspective. It was educational for me.

      • I like how you try to make her look like a lesser Christian for being divorced, while you’re divorced yourself. Not very bright, are you? I bet your wife is an AWFUL family practice lawyer hahaha…

      • Wow! Your comment is judgmental and extreme. And, I say this as a divorced woman whose marriage break up was hostile enough that it merited drop off and pick up at the police station.

        It was extremely hard to comply with the Access Order, as it was written, in our case. My ex husband is a long distance trucker (Can/USA) and there were too many times where he was in a different country. This was very hard on OUR son. It, also, affected the extended family on his side as they weren’t seeing him either.

        The Order was varied to simply state “Generous and Reasonable Access”. That was in 2001. He resides with me due to his father’s business.

        Our son has been all over Canada and the USA in his father’s semi. They have and incredibly healthy bond. He has seen things, been places and experienced things I could not ever offer him…and they shared it.

        My parent’s and I have driven him several hours away so he could attend paternal family functions, when his dad was unable to do so. I am a firm believer that the more people that love my child, the better off they are, and my children are not my possession to covet. They love him.

        My son is an honour student, is in a formal mentorship program at school, excels at athletics, and is well spoken of as a kind, compassionate, generous, hard working and an exemplary person. This would not have happened had we continued on the confrontational path the formal agreements had us on.

        Kudos to the poster for doing what was best for them, not just what they were ordered to do by people who did not know your family.

    • My ex and I live close to each other and split time 50/50. We go every 2 days and every other weekend. It works great for us. If I have them Monday and Tuesday then he will have them Wednesday and Thursday and I will have them Friday through Sunday. Then the opposite the following week. Who ever wakes up with them takes them to school and whoever’s day it is picks them up from school. Taking and picking up are sometimes shared and adjusted because of sports.

    • Co-parenting is not splitting down the middle, it’s about putting the child/ren first. Of course, it’s not in the child’s best interest to flip weekly between houses. It is in their best interest to have free (reasonable) access to each parent. Interrupting an adventure or project, rushing through a meal, waking a child from a nap to follow a precise timetable is not ‘best interest.’ Altering work schedules, driving recklessly, disappointing other siblings/family members, jeopardizing relationships, and compromising ones stress level to meet the schedule is not reasonable for either parent.
      Perhaps you start by relaxing the rigid schedule, be flexible, allow for an extra week end or off schedule events, switch days and times to make it easier to schedule both parents needs and wants. WORK TOGETHER…don’t be opposing factions…don’t give the child/ren the opportunity to play you against one another…be united in the parenting task.
      Utopia doesn’t come overnight…take it in steps…have the goal and the focus on what you want the relationships to be…think before you speak or act…”love your ‘neighbor’ as you love yourself.”
      FYI – I’ve been through this personally and collaborately with my children – I have extensive first hand experience. I’m also, now, close friends with my husband’s former wife. And, yes it works for all of us. After all, like it or not you’re all part of the family. We don’t hassle over holiday’s anymore…we share them…to the joy and comfort of all the kids and grandkids.

      • I love this comment.

        I am struggling through all of this. Currently have a 3 month temporary court order…with the father of my nearly 16 month old, whose father just entered her life.

        I want what is described so badly, but he’s very secretive, bent on a “court war,” very pushy, manipulating and demanding for someone who I was begging to see his daughter for more than a year.

        I want to give up “control,” but don’t feel safe doing so.

        The situation is so sad and so hard. It makes me feel heartbroken every day.

        It is hard— you talk about parents agreeing to split–divorce as agreeing to not seeing or being with their child normally…

        In our situation, he didn’t want anything to do with my daughter or me…from pregnancy on to about 14 months I was totally alone, did everything alone. Then a court case was started and its been nothing but conflict.

        I can’t stand the idea of being split fromy child….it is really hard.

        I strive to do what’s best for her, despite it all. Have supported his time, despite his attitude…

        As much as no CO sounds great….in some situations it just really isn’t safe or healthy….

    • Here’s how it’s worked for my family. My sons’ dad and I used to live 10 minutes apart and we used his address for school purposes. During my week, I drove them to school and when they got older, to the bus stop near their dad’s house. When I moved 4 minutes away, their dad’s address was still used for school purposes, but it was easier to get one child to the bus stop and the junior high was half-way between both homes. We switch off on Mondays.The kids leave for school from one home and come home after school to the other. At this point, my 18 year old brings over his 15 year old brother. He is attending community college and still follows the same week-to-week schedule with both parents.

      We haven’t followed the court ordered agreement since 2010. I was originally the “dad” in the divorce (meaning I had the minimal time arrangement usually relegated to men). It took a family counselor to help my sons’ dad realize I wasn’t brainwashing them to want 50/50, week-to-week. Our current agreement was worked out at a McDonald’s and we’ve been more flexible ever since.Thankfully, my child support order was dismissed and we split major expenses 50/50 (on the honor system of either one paying in advance and trusting the other to reimburse) while providing clothing and other necessities at each home to prevent the back & forth packing.

  51. Thank you so much for posting this!!! My ex and I got divorced, our kids and families DIDN’T! It makes me so happy to see both sets of grandparents sitting in the stands together laughing, talking, and cheering for our son on the football field. I know any time I need anything for the kids if I call my ex or his wife they will move mountains , if necessary, to provide. They have the kids when I work and when I changed my schedule his wife and I talked about how the new schedule would work. Their only request was that they still had the kids as much as they did when I worked every weekend. Holiday schedules are flexible. We simply do what’s best for the kids (they usually have at least 4 Christmas functions to attend which we think is awesome and always plan for attendance at all of them). I AM SO THANKFUL that his wife LOVES our children. Not only her, her family does too! I whole heartedly believe that out of all the things that we did wrong as a couple, we are the best model of coparenting on the market! It comes down to one very simple concept, doing what is best for OUR CHILDREN! Yes it takes tons of grace and mercy, selflessness, and an ability to see beyond this moment. There are many many calls from both households asking if they can stay an extra day or can we do this or that and they get far more yeses than they do nos. I love that my children have confidence in our ability to do what is best for them. It makes my heart smile. Child support could never measure up to what my children actually benefit from our coparenting adventure. My ex and I have been through many times when we were at odds and did not agree with each other at all but our children were sacred to both of us and were never used as pawns to manipulate or punish the other parent. It was an unspoken rule that all of us respected. #happycoparent

  52. So heart-warming to see another family that acts this way! My Ex and I separated 6 years ago and got to this point 5 years ago. So much less stress. We are able to take vacations, go out to eat, holidays at each families house, even birthday parties for the other Children that didn’t come from our marriage- and yes, we do it all together. We get the craziest looks and judgements, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s what works for us. And with them having 2 daughters together and is having 1 daughter together, that leaves Em with 3 sisters- she loves that she sees them all the time and isn’t picking or choosing. We are blessed to not have to worry about child support or who is doing what. And she is the happiest thriving little 6 year old in the world.

    • I really appreciated this blog and specifically the comment above from Amber. I married a man with 3 small children, then we had one ourselves. I loved my step children to pieces and “our” ex wife and us figured out how to make everything work to the benefit of our kids. If she needed to switch a weekend, we accommodated, and vice versa. We held birthday parties together, went to family functions together and even spent time together on each other’s vacations! Our children have grown up healthy and happy and we are all still very close. As a matter of fact, after 21 years of being single, our ex just got remarried and our special needs child couldn’t understand why we were not going to be there! We had to explain that it was a small affair and just for her side of the family and her closest friends. I wish her many years of happiness. She is a classy lady and I am SO appreciative that we were able to raise our children in this manner.
      From the Step Mom

      • I love how you refer to the ex as “our ex”!!!!! Very admirable and respectful!!! Kudos to you!!

  53. Me and my ex have been divorced for 3 years and til this day we still can’t get along and he really doesn’t understand the co parenting ordeal. We have two daughters that are 5 and 3 and they’re are getting hurt mentally and emotionally by their own dad and it’s sad. I’ve been doing my part since the beginning but I always get smack in the face cause he wants things his way or no way at all. Our oldest daughter is in sports now and when it comes to his weekend he says she will not be there cause he doesn’t want to do the driving to where she plays. He gets the kids every other weekend, so that means shall miss out alot. What I do is keep them and he can come get them after the game cause no kid doesn’t need to miss out. What I’m saying is that he always puts his needs, wants and self first and my kids feelings doesn’t matter to him it’s all about him and not the kids. He lives an 1hr from us and he says he doesn’t want to live in and out of his car, so pretty much said my daughter’s can’t play sports in his book lol. I have the control on everything and I do everything for my kids cause it’s about sacrificing for them and being their for them no matter what. It’s impossible to Co parent with my ex, so I do my thing and he still gets his time when I see fits cause I be damned if their dad continues to hurt my kids.

    • Respectfully, I must point out that you missed the entire point if this article. You’re on the wrong side of this legally, and probably morally. Legally he had every right to decide they do during his parenting time, including saying no to sports. If you continue to disregard the court order in this way, he could successfully position a judge to take custody from you and give it to him. More importantly, you have prioritized sports over their need to have time with their father. He already gets very little time. They probably arent going to be professional athletes but they will always need their dad, regardless of how you feel toward him. They need time with him much more than they need to play sports every weekend.

      • Well said Tammi. I find it so frustrating that anytime I don’t comply with what she has planned for our child, I am judged and made out to be the villain. Again, control. So hard.

      • Very articulate Tammi!! You’re absolutely right- the girls aforementioned are going by the mom’s schedule. Dad may be reluctant to drive but may put forth more effort if mom would let go of the reigns.

    • It takes two mature people to make this work. During the first year it was hard I called my ex and told her that we need to be friends and work it out for the best interests of our children. She agreed and said that we can’t be best friends but she was wiling to work together for the best interests of the children. Now after 18 years we are best friends and she is married now and was before, but that ended in divorce. It’s great now, we share holidays together and birthday parties etc. We all get together for the holidays everyone is invited and attend. It’s great for the children and the grand children they know no difference. I’ve had numerous friends and relatives tell me they are impressed by the relationship that my ex and I have. I tell them it’s for the best interest of the children and the grand children. I’ve even gone over to my sister in laws – ex. and stayed with her cause of surgery etc. It’s just people and relationship.

    • I can totally relate to you. As of right now my ex and I have no formal agreement. We decided and agreed on the schedule and what works best for our kids. Now their dad wants to switch everything because I won’t do what he wants. We have had the same weekends for 2 years now, and now he wants to switch and I said no. I have a lot of reasons for not agreeing all because of my kids and what’s best for them. He is now making our lives hell. Even on “his” time he rarely sees his kids. We have a 50/50 arrangement, but I have my kids 90% of the time. He goes out with his friends on his days and weekends and at first I didn’t care because the kids stayed with me. Now because I won’t switch weekends, he won’t let the kids stay with me while he does his thing, he leaves them with others or a sitter when they don’t want to go, they want to stay with me. I have always let my kids go with him if he had something special planned or a family function. My kids see his family more when they are with me then they do with him. While I wish we could avoid the courts and parent ourselves, he’s using and hurting my kids to get what he wants for selfish reasons. Now I am forced to go to the courts and let them decide what’s best for my children. If kids want to play sports, both parents should support that. It’s selfish to not take them on “their ” time, just as I give up my time to take them.

  54. I truly wish this was how things were for our family. I married a man that has two children (boy, 10, girl, 8…at the time; now 23 and 21). Their mother was and is a nightmare. Every single situation that comes up is about her. Never about the children. My husband’s parents have been married 49 years, my parents divorced when I was 8 and my stepfather and my mother primarily raised me, THANK GOD! My father got my sister and I rarely and in hindsight, I think that was best for me. My stepfather has been a Godsend in my life. I feel like I was put on this earth to help with raising my husband’s children and just wish things could be easier for them. It’s so sad that even to this day their mother can’t be more easy going. I see in to the future that these children will want to marry some beautiful person and they won’t be able to enjoy the engagement, wedding, or one day grandchildren; because their mother will always make things difficult.

    • Wow! We are going through the same thing!!!! It amazes me at how much trouble one will go through just to satisfy their own needs….and completely disregard their children’s needs…. With the way their mother is…we will never be able to throw away our custody papers 😣

      • Some moms protect there child also the father of my child always says he will come a and visit but never does its not only the moms that make it difficult its the dads also especially if they don’t own up to there promises. Lots of moms put the reigns on cause they know how there exes are and want to protect there kids from getting hurt. And I am looking out for what best for her if that means telling her real dad he can only see her when I am present so be it that is !y right as the legal parent.

    • My ex would be so easy to work with if it wasn’t for his mom! He and the kids stay with her, so she thinks she has all say so about our kids and she makes it hell for me to see them. But when I get to talk to my ex alone, he’s so different than when his mom is around! I’m in a bad court battle with them right now! It sucks! It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve seen my kids!!!

  55. Love this because this is exactly how my son’s Dad nd I are raising our son!! No court, no judge no one but US deciding how we share our son…and it has worked out perfectly!!!

  56. This is an awesome story I myself have a wonderful relationship with my sons father and his new wife. I couldn’t ask for a better relationship. I wish it could be this way for all parents and children who are in a split family. It makes for much happier kids and they grow up to know the value of what a meaningful relationship between people are. Thanks for sharing your story!!!!

  57. I wish so bad we could do this.. And we did for a while…but it came more to us bending over backwards because if it wasn’t what she wanted then it would go back to the papers…..things are now swapped and we now have custody…. And the papers are sssoooi much worse than before half of this holiday so many hours on this birthday and that birthday every other week during the summer…..half of thus day bring em back at this time after this…its ridiculous… But unfortunately we HAVE to continue with this “forced” agreement even though she 99% of the time doesn’t do what she is suppose to….your are 100% right…its not the children’s fault! And it is so hard to explain or have to watch them cry because of what goes on at mommy’s on the weekends…..it takes very strong people to be able to do this…and maybe in the future we can…but it seems by then…. It will be to late

    • The parent it is always hardest on is the parent who tries to abide by the court orders. My ex hasn’t bothered to see the kids since 2010. He never calls or writes even though they’ve tried to reach out to them and I have supported them in that because it is in their best interests to have a good relationship with their dad.

      Hang in there – your constant and steady presence in their lives will help them feel safe, secure and loved. You have much more influence on them than her occasional and brief appearances.

  58. I love this article. My ex husband and I do not go by our papers either. We do the exact same thing. We let the kids choose what they want to do with either parent. Our babies live with me but they can spend the night with THEIR DAD or his Family anytime. There is NO MY KID. They are our children and they did not ask to be here. Just because we could not make it as a married couple and does not mean we have to stop being parents to our children. I say this very strongly every child needs both parents. IF THE PARENTS ARE SUITABLE PARENTS FOR THE CHILD/CHILDREN. MY EX AND I HAVE BATTLED COURT. just FYI that judge nor those lawyers know your situation. They don’t know what it takes to make YOUR life and your Family the way it needs to be. I know Divorce is not right. But when the choice is made its not about you are him , who got hurt and who didn’t its about that child/children and that child/children only…. not who takes care of them more or who spend more money etc. we all have to work together to make sure they have what they need and some of their wants. Is divorce easy no it’s not and your never going to agree on everything but you can try to come to a happy med in most of the situation, IF THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY. I don’t agree with a lot of stuff that goes on in my ex’s life but it’s his life. I talk to him and tell him how I feel about certain situation when my children can be affected by it. He can also give me his opinion. ONE OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS IN DIVORCE IS ONE person thinks the other PERSON owes them something. Neither one of you owe the other one ANYTHING except to be the best parent you can possible to the child/children. ANOTHER MAIN PROBLEM is when a parent gets hurt they want to take it out on the other parent threw the child. Really can you not see what you are doing to your child. WHY MAKE THEM CHOOSE THEY DIDN’T EVEN CHOOSE TO BE HERE, THEY DID NOT EVEN CHOOSE YOU TO BE THEIR PARENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHERISH WHAT YOU DO HAVE WEATHER IT WAS IN THE PLANS OF LIFE OR NOT CAUSE WE ARE NOT PROMISED TO HAVE THEM TOMORROW.

  59. So many great stories to read. Worked in a (TX) law office for 23 years and sadly, these types of stories were few and far between. Thankfully they started requiring divorcing parents with children to attend mandatory counseling sessions before the divorce was granted. These sessions focused on putting the kids best interest first and not using them as pawns, which is often seen in many divorce cases. Also, the custody agreement (at least in the County where I worked) was meant to be used only when the parents are unable to agree. It was not a guide that had to be “followed”, and there was language in the divorce decree that plainly stated “failing mutual agreement” . . . the visitation schedule would be what would control (i.e., every Wednesday, 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend of each month, alternating years for holidays, etc). My son’s father and I never looked at the agreement once it was signed. It is great to read all these stories and to know that active co-parenting is becoming more and more acceptable among divorcing couples. It’s never the child/children’s choice and they don’t deserve to suffer from it.

  60. I am a child of divorce(multiple times); I have been a step mother. I am well versed in different situations. This,for the people who can make it work, is wonderful! Unfortunately my ex husband is not the best. My husband that loves & does anything, everything for my daughter like she’s his own is the best for her. My husband communicates with my ex so there is no friction or issues. That is what works for us. My ex is very much self centered, if the court schedule doesn’t work for him he just tell my husband, “oh, I’ll get her another time; but 98% of the time he doesn’t. If he does try to get her if it’s not a major effect in what’s going on we are very willing to help get her to him. We live 30 minutes apart & my ex acts like we are in different states.. We want her to have time with her father but the fact of the matter is as soon as he gets her he immediately takes her to his parents. This used to bother me so much ( his parents openly denounce God infront of her) it breaks my heart that she will have to hear things like that from people she loves. My husband tells me that maybe she will be Gods light in their lives. My husband gives me hope that even though there is so much dis function she encounters over there if we do what is right (although I want to hold her say nope you missed your turn, shelter her from all of that) & just work with him it will be better because she’s already hurt from her father not being at events, not picking her up (a lot) at the last minute even though it’s his court appointed time, when he does ask for her I don’t want to hurt her by saying no. She’s four so it’s hard explaning why he has decided not to come get her but i have faith & pray a lot that as soon as she is older she’ll realize she is a connivence not a priority but as long as we keep making her a priority at our house(because she is) she will have some stability.

  61. My ex and I divorced when our children were 2 and 4, we had no decree or edicts. I have supported her to be a full time mom since then, and still do. Our relationship is loving and genuine, and our children have grown up with no stigma from a nasty divorce. They are 15 and 17 now… Still being full time parented by their mom. We have even all lived together from time to time due to financial necessity, as we are currently.

  62. Same here, we tossed those papers. I never forced either to go to dad’s.

    Daughter was 13.5 when the separation happened. Until daughter turned 14, she went each scheduled weekend. Then a bad experience with new gf (and her daughter) caused her to tell dad “no, not this week”, and slowly moved her visits to once a month. Once ex moved out of state, they both went all summer until she turned 16 and was in driver’s ed. That summer she went for two weeks and brother stayed for 7 weeks total. After daughter turned 17 she never spent any amount of time with dad (her choice). Once she graduated, she moved out on her own and only sees him now when he comes to town.

    Son was 9 when the separation happened. He spent EVERY OTHER weekend with dad when dad lived in the area. Once dad moved out of state, then he would go every Spring Break and summer. Some years, Thanksgiving was spent with dad here with his family. Christmas was a toss up between dad’s house and grandparent’s family. Until he graduated High School he spend EVERY SUMMER there. The summer he took Driver’s Ed, he went to dad’s for three weeks, came home for the three weeks of class and then returned to dad’s for another 4 weeks. Finally returning home for the final two weeks of summer.

    One summer he had a commitment twice a week. So on Friday night, son and I drove 1 hour 10 minutes to drop him off with dad and on Tuesday I would drive again to pick him up for the meetings on Wednesday and Friday nights.

    He moved to dad’s after graduating and spent 11 months there. Came back to our area and has now moved back home.

    We have stayed at their house for the weekend (they lived in another state and it was cheaper than a motel room). The kids, dad and his new family went to one amusement park while my husband, his son and I went to another.

    I have watched their 2 year old for the weekend (she is now 10). They have spent the afternoon at my house for either a birthday party or a baby shower.

  63. I read this and just knew that you 2 had seen that the same skills needed to better this situation for your daughter would also work on a marriage. Thus you recommitted to each other. Kind of a let-down that it wasn’t the case.

    I applaud you for the mature way that you 2 handled your daughter. You handled it with character which required effort on both party’s part. Again I lament the fat that your marriage was not realized as of the same importance. Not assigning blame here. Love is a choice, not an emotion.

  64. If I didn’t have court ordered visitation, I don’t think my ex-wife would ever let me see my kids again. She does everything she can to cut me out of their lives. Kids shouldn’t be a prize that one side wins and another side loses, but that’s how our system often works.

  65. I gave my ex 50/50 an cancelled childsupport and he moved out of state the day after we signed the papers He didnt take my daughter thankfully but as soon as I took away his legal obligation he left and now my daughter suffers from that.

  66. Many times all is good and this would work, especially at the beginning. My ex-husband and I have been divorced for 14 years now. Our initial custody and relationship after divorce was great and it was freestyle, like you are mentioning. But then he remarried, and remarried a by-the-book, controling woman. Then all hell broke lose. I had to keep a calendar for 11 years. Strict, to the papers….day/time/holidays/ special occasions/etc. If late, it was an arguement for months with his current wife. It was awful. Vacations couldn’t be taken when our jobs allowed us the time off, because my ex had my son from Thursday 6pm until Saturday 6pm…which meant long weekend getaways were impossible. Now my son is 16 and we still somewhat follow the papers, but his current wife is a little more lenient and we come to agreement of taking our son on trips, or necessary events that may run-over each others’ custody. BUT they like swap-days. If they allow me him Friday night due to a special occassion or trip, then I have to give up my Wednesday or Sunday night. If things were just between my ex and I, it could have worked exactly like this post above. But other people, other spouses, come into the picture and things can change in an instance! Although better now, than those awful 11 years, its still a constant battle. So much that my son, who drives at 16, cannot come home until 6PM, per their rules. I actually remarried before my ex remarried. Difference is, my husband stays out of it, he allows my ex & I to make decisions and agreements, without his interference…..but then gets irrate when he sees me having to go through my husband’s wife, because my ex won’t do anything without her approval. Good luck to all fighting this awful battle. Only the child gets hurt when you don’t get along. The child is who loses out on so much!

  67. This is amazing. I myself have soul custody of my son. His biological father has a lifestyle that we both agreed was no place to rear a child. With that being said I have been in an amazing relationship with a man who struggled with these same custody issues himself. It took a lot of patience to convince him the importance of co parenting, but we finally got there. My step son, better yet my son from an amazing woman, has excelled in every way. The arguing and spitefulness is no longer an issue and we have all grown in so many ways. She and her new husband are a blessing to my family and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So glad to hear that other divided families are loving enough to do the same. Thanks for sharing!!!

  68. Great article! My ex and I do this for our 8 year old as well.
    For 6 years I was custodial and received support. After I took a night job and went through a separation, our daughter wanted to live with Dad and his new wife.
    It took all I had in me but I kept hearing my conscience tell me that even a little girl has a right to be able to be comfortable in her life. Obviously we make parental decisions, but I want her to feel comfortable and loved no matter what I am doing or he is doing.
    We literally typed our own agreement saying there is no agreement, and then we just agree on the rest. We have some disagreements and get downright crappy sometimes but in the end we meet in the middle and just make sure our bases are covered. I love my girls and to let the younger one go live in a household with another woman was a hard choice. I struggled alone in my mind several times and found myself experiencing guilt and jealousy.
    I just figured out how to let all the negativity go and just let her have a good life both places. I am amazed that I did and was that strong, but I see the results in a happy well adjusted little girl who is honor roll and more.
    It’s amazing the positive energy that can flow if we just allow it to!

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  69. I think the idea of parents working cordially together to raise their child is wonderful and what we all should hope to achieve. My concern with your comments is that people change and without a functioning parenting plan in place you put yourself and your child at unnecessary risk. In our experience, we ended up taking full time care of my stepdaughter when her mother disappeared during her summer visit with us. Our concern was for our daughter, whose mother finally returned and proved she could provide a stable home again, after about 18 months. Because we never legalized the change in parenting, we ended up having to pay back child support for the time when we had custody. I advise everyone to make their parenting agreements legal, it will protect you and your child in the event that parents disagree or things change unexpectedly.

    • My brother ended up paying child support for two and half years while he had custody because of not legalizing changes that were made. Money that could be helping pay for his son’s college now, but the mother drank it all away. And when he informally agreed for her to move out of state for a temporary job opportunity on the grounds that she would return, it invalidated the original agreement when she chose not to return at all and led to huge difficulties with visitation which ended up on her terms entirely to the detriment of their child. It is better to have a legal and binding agreement at all times. It protects the child in the end, not the parents.

  70. Love the story ! I just wished all parents understood how important this is for children. In our case, we suffer cause the mother ran off with our baby girl when she was 2 mths old. We seen her at 1 court date and the judge allowed us to keep her for 10 days.. I was the best days. She left and we haven’t seen her since. I text every Sunday, sometimes I hear back fm her and some I dont. We have 1 more court date and who knows when that will b, but we can’t wait to c our baby girl.. My son has had a very difficult time thru this ordeal. We pray continously that God will intervene.our baby girl is 17 hrs away 😦

  71. So why couldn’ you make it work as a married couple if you could make it work separated/divorced/married again?!?!? Divorce is way to easy these days. Too bad you couldn’t put the time, effort, and energy into your marriage to make it work. Another sad day for our children, our families, and our society. 😔

    • My ex and I do this with for kids for the last 15 years. We couldn’t make our marriage work cause as we grew we our differences became too great and clash. We make better friends than spouses… And it takes us only 3 days under the same roof before all hell breaks loose. He in an extrovert who needs attention. I am an introvert who hates attention. He is very anal and ocd about everything down to fifty close should be folded in the dirty hamper and I thrive in organized chaos. He makes plans to plan his months activities. I wing it.
      But as long as we don’t live together we get along fine. Plus his girlfriend makes him so much happier than I ever did…

    • Oh. My. God. Judge much, Scoobie? “Divorce is way to easy these days.” REALLY?? I filed for divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. I had been a stay-at-home mom and I LOVED it. But, after filing for divorce, I had to return to the work force as a middle aged woman to support my five kids. Divorce is NEVER an “easy out.” It is an option of last resort when everything else that has been tried has FAILED.

      Just last night, my 14-year old was saying at supper, “All the kids in other families squabble all the time. They are constantly bickering. I don’t get it. These are your siblings! Why would you want to fight with them?”

      She doesn’t remember, because it has been so long, that she and her siblings constantly fought, too…UNTIL I gave their father his walking papers. Then, almost over night, the squabbling stopped. And believe me, they NEVER saw us fight because we didn’t. There were huge problems, though. Problems that no amount of “forgiveness” or “love” or “open communication” could overcome. The fact that the kids have thrived and blossomed away from that environment is the best proof I need that I did the right thing to get a divorce.

      (Webmaster: I clicked on the “Reply” to Scoobie, but it automatically brought up that I was replying to Kyla Luv who herself had replied to Scoobie. Would be nice to get that little glitch fixed.) 😉

  72. It takes a mature couple to do this. In our case it also took very patient and loving spouses. We decided to focus on our Son and not our issues. We both had remarried by the time he was six and have other children. We never played the step or half game we saw each as family. My boys thought of their brothers sister as their sister. Twelve years later we benefited from working hard to co parent. At the end of my Son’s freshman year in college he was diagnosed with cancer (ALL) He fought for six years and died March of 2012. I can’t imagine how much more difficult this season of life would have been had we not had a healthy mature relationship and spent 12 years working out our issues and simply be family to our children. The hospital staff was always amazed because we did not fit the norm. When asked how we made it work we always said we loved him more than we hated each other. It wasn’t always easy. Spent a lot of time on the road. But so glad I was at every birthday celebration, parent teacher conference, and any other activity in his life. For us it was about trusting a God that was bigger than our stuff.

  73. Great article!! I wish this would work for our situation! But I have some questions. My fiancée was with his ex 11 yrs and they have 3 children. Girl who was 10 and twin boys that were 6. We have been together for 5yrs and have a 10month old. In the beginning of our relationship he got them every once in awhile and only when it was convenient for her. And it wasnt often!! sometimes he had to beg just to talk on the phone to them. I mean he prolly didn’t even get his twins once a month and his daughter was told negative things by her mother so never wanted to visit or stay the night. I think since we have been she has only visited more than a hr maybe 3 times. Well 2 years ago is the last time he has talked to them.. We took them school shopping and went to eat and get ice cream! And they called their mother and wanted to stay the night (it was a weekend) well of course she said no and they were so upset ad one of them told her she was selfish and only thought of herself!! Well she was irate! And came ad picked them up them crying and upset. Well that’s the last time we have seen them he called and called never an answer and eventually blocked our numbers. But then she was living with her bf which is now her husband. And he makes lots of money and it seems like when they got serious we stopped seeing them. I’ve heard from people she said they have a family and 2 families would confuse them. They don’t even know they have a little brother an it breaks my heart. We still try to get in touch and message on FB no response. I feel like now she has her husband who makes a lot of money she wants that to be their dad and that’s not right. As a mother I know how important a relationship Is between a boy and his dad. Idk what to do and he is depressed and misses them very much. And I’m sure she don’t tell them about all the times we called or txt so they probably think he hasn’t tried which is VERY untrue. The twins are 11 and girl is 15. What can we do because this has gone on way to long?

  74. I am soooo in love with this article. My ex and I have done the same thing for 10 yrs now. We tried the custody agreement for just a short time but this co parenting thing works soooo much better. It’s amazing at how well we all get along. At any given sporting event that she has, we’re all, including grandparents, are together in the stands cheering her on. Makes life soooo much less stressful on our daughter and us as well.

  75. I have 5 kids and different arrangements with all of them…. My daughter who is now 17 has never seen her father because he chose to not be a part of her life. He blames that on me because he says he didn’t want to deal with me. In fact he just didn’t want to have to do a parenting arrangement and go through all the things he was going to have to do to see her… We were never married and not together long.
    I have twin boys with my ex husband that just turned 11 and are in 5th grade. We had a nasty divorce and I still can’t stand him or his new wife which happens to be his first wife that he divorced also. However, we have shared parenting 50/50 but we also don’t always go by the paperwork… We work together for the kids but he tends to try to push me around and do what he wants a lot so it’s a good thing we have the paperwork to fall back on. Our children are doing very well in school. Straight A students and in the accelerated classes… Outstanding in sports! And all around happy and great kids.
    I have another set of twin boys that will be 5 in Nov. their father is controlling, spiteful, vindictive and only about what he wants and how he wants it. He refuses to work with me unless it benefits him and his needs. He moved an hour away from his kids for a woman. And that was 2 women ago. He is now married to a woman that I do not trust much but from what I can tell she is good to the kids. But I have full custody and he keeps them overnight on wed nights and gets them every other weekend. I’ve tried to be flexible and offer him extra time but he turns me down a lot because he has better things to do. He refuses to meet half way for pick ups and drop offs unless it benefits him. He will agree to things and then go back on his word if I make him mad about anything. So I have decided to strictly go by the paperwork… It is the only solution to dealing with him and his control freak nature. Our kids are so loving and happy but that’s because they are too young to know what an ass he is to me and I don’t let it ruin them.
    Not every situation can be like you described or handled with ease. But it’s what works for each situation that makes it right. This person isn’t saying that everyone should do this but just that you should try to get along and that you don’t necessarily have to go exactly by the paperwork if you find that something else works better… Everyone would think my shared parenting schedule is crazy but it works. We do every other day and every other weekend. But they’ve been on this schedule since they were 4 and it just works out for us:) It’s all about finding balance between you and doing what’s best for the kids.

  76. I believe this article was individualized as said at the end of it. My situation was also chosen to be handled like this for my now 9yr old (flexible/without Gov. Intervention). My ex and I have free reign to our daughter at any time. We have an agreement that plans pertaining to her, must be discussed before locked down or even mentioned to her. We put each others future plans on the table in advance when its possible, compare who has the best idea for that time and then approach her on it. She utimately has the final say. We r both safe, sound, responsible parents, that work. Just because we r parents doesn’t mean that we aren’t entitled to careers or that it makes us “less” of a parents because we choose to work and there is also no exchange of “child support” in a monitary sense. We do not bash each other in front of or behind her back. We also understand that we chose to like each other enough at one point to create her, she should never feel guilt or persuasion to choose one parent over the other in any situation. Its not even necessary when acting as a “team”. To the person that thinks this article is in some way unhealthy or non Christian. I have to ask, is it any wonder your ex gave u such a hard time? In your views, u want to label everything as to what parent has the upper hand or who is in control for each situation, such as financial and the most or least amount of time spent with the child. In all team situations there will be a leader from time to time but its whom ever is best for that situation. Where have u ever seen a basketball/ football/ soccer team that has the same one person with the ball every time? There is no way to win like that. There’s also situations that arise when the child is more comfortable speaking to one parent over the other about whats going on in their young life. This is no competition! The child must be put first and theres no splitting them in half. One parent is always going to be left out, thus the term “seperated” but maybe the next week the opposite parent will have the child more. Its all about balance and child happiness/ safety. Lastly the wife “family lawyer” is this how u met her? Because u sound like a real catch for a family unit. Do you think she also needs governed? She has done well for herself. (Sigh)

  77. I’m so happy this works for you guys. You all sound very happy. In my situation we do go by the court orders and it works great too. My ex has never showed any interest in spending extra time with our boys unless I offered. He never calls them. The only time he bothers to have anything to do with them most of the time is his weekends, holidays, and summer vacation. Which we are all thankful for but he knows that he has access to them while they are with me he just choses not to. You know that saying “out of sight out of mind”? I am now remarried and our family actually thrives off the structure that the divorce orders have given us. We have a Brady bunch family of 5 children, all that love each other, and the division of time helps them all spend time together. My husband and I are both primary custodial parents of our children so they all live with us. My ex doesn’t always want to follow through with the agreement but I am glad it’s in place to protect me and our children. So my case is one where it works. I am however very happy for you and your family and how you are able to work things out.

  78. My ex husband and I have a similar agreement and it works very well for us and our two children. If our work schedule changes then we change what days we keep the children. Of course we have disagreements on occasion, doesn’t everone?

  79. I have to admit my wife and I are on the brink of divorce. Reading the experiences of others does lighten my spirits some. We have two children 4 & 6. I think we’ve remained married mainly because of the children. We certainly care for each other and love both our children immensely but damn it just seems impossible to live with one another. Together 8 years. Married for 5. It’s been a struggle for the entirety of 8 years. I think the main reason we got married was because of the children. We’re passed the ideas of greener grass. We both feel the other would greatly benefit being with someone else but we still work at it. My biggest fear is regret at the moment. Will I regret spending another 8 years in turmoil or will I regret separating my children. I just don’t know how to make this decision but from what I’ve read I’ve learned some stellar things to do if we make the decision. My buddies heckle me (“it’s cheaper to keep her”), but I don’t listen. I just want my kids in a happy, healthy home regardless of the expense. Any advice?

    • Jon….co-parenting is the hardest job you will ever have when both parents are 100% committed to raising their child as full time parents. You will not agree on a great many things and despite the anger and vitriol at me for being honest and concerned and even the lady that goes around correcting you’re and your in a world of auto-correct; do not be ignorant of the choices your potentially facing.

      Do your research and do not procrastinate. Find a good attorney and that means interview a few and find one your comfortable with. A custody battle will cost $20K per side and up if one parent contests. The author of this article handed her ex with the state minimum Orders which is essentially a Summary Judgement. That put her ex on defense from day one and would mean a custody battle in court. The parent that files first has the advantage by creating the original Temp Orders that becomes the basis of all future discussions. If you wife files, her attorney will advise her to give you no slack and take everything she can legally claim with default Orders that the author mentioned in her article so that she had negotiating room should her ex counter claim. She sent those Orders to her husband and he did not fight or could not due to finances, job or maybe personal issues around the marriage but she controlled the Orders. That is why I asked her if she would flip the Orders and then live under the unselfish co-parenting they have today with her ex in control of the Orders. Would she give her ex the control she has and then have faith he would be so understanding to share equally? No attorney would agree to that based on their expert experience that all things can change and in the end the Orders will be the only thing the Judge sees should the two no longer agree.

      You cannot tear up Orders. They never go away despite the authors enthusiasm. The first paragraph of EVERY visitation schedule states that both parents can by agreement set any visitation they want…by agreement. The fact the author said the visitation stressed them out is tough to swallow had anyone read the Orders. Second, the Office of the Attorney General will hold you financially to child support and health insurance to the point of jail. The OAG will never forgive a debt. The author suggested her and her ex just work out the money and insurance as it makes sense for the child. Trust me that is not true and you can Google that in about 90 sec. The person paying support can pay more but not less as the State will find it and if the other parent ever tells the OAG your are negligent you will be in court and owe back-child support so trust in your ex is a price that you can pay but the State will not let the child be part of the risk. The State is enforcing the Orders despite what the authors claims. Some moms in this blog talk about how they also do their own thing and everything is great. They are not examples of good or bad arrangements because in every family the circumstances are very different. You also have not heard from the ex spouses to confirm the Kumbaya world so buyer beware of what you read in all this.

      As I mentioned, the author could agree with her ex to do everything they say that they do and put it in writing and a Judge will most likely sign off. The age of the children is a factor for the Judge but if both parents are healthy physically and emotionally and the children are 10ish and up the Judge would let the modern agreement go and her original Orders could be torn up. She did not tear up her Orders. The Orders reside in a court house. She can drop the hammer on her ex any time legally. It happens all the time. As an attorney, my wife hears about amazing co-parenting arrangements every month. How? Because a mom or dad is in her office crying over how it all fell apart and now they are in a stink pickle. A parent telling her attorney that 10 years of not following the Orders and now the primary parent changed their mind or is forced to move or do something that will change everything. Jon….things change so make sure your Orders are done properly from day one.

      Some things to consider in the Best Interest of the Child. Restrict the child to one school district thus both parents have to make a choice on their living arrangements around the child. Create a 50/50 one week at a time at each household M-F. Weekends and holidays under the standard Orders that every State uses are not a bad system to adopt but by having a 50/50 week on week off you can co-parent as the two of you see fit and not risk losing time with your children should the communication between you two fall apart over time. This is very important to keep one parent for becoming controlling. Balance the visitation and restrict the geography which is the common sense approach to compel a healthy co-parenting environment for your children. The smartest and wisest people in your situation are your children. They know more than you think they do. With a balanced visitation order, you two can communicate and move the children back and forth with ease and never stray beyond the scripted Orders in a significant way. It is a win win. That could also eliminate a one sided child support assuming both parents work. Make everything in your Orders to say “by agreement” except emergency medical care. 75% of all divorces are initiated by the woman. Men that are good fathers sound exactly like you. They want what is right for their children and do not want to fight. The problem in the real world is that the person that initiates the divorce plans for months if not years and one day you are handed a summons and you have days to find an attorney and scramble to protect your rights with your children. Your world will be spinning out of control and 90% of men give in and accept the Orders the author mentioned. Sadly, a high percentage of men will fade away from their children under standard one-sided default Orders. It does not have to be that way. A good and honest Family Law attorney that really cares about children can craft a set of fair Orders and even work with your spouse in mediation to avoid some cost and the unpredictable wrath of a Judge. You do not want a Judge to decide the fate of your relationship with your children until they are 18. The Judge will sleep find at night regardless of their decree. It is his or her job…not their family.

      Jon….one more strategy thing. The county your in is also huge. There are mommy counties and their are progressive counties and everything in between. Their are old school counties that will give the mom everything up front. Your DOA unless your make the first move. Your attorney will know the landscape. Find an attorney that practices only in your county and knows the Judges. He or she will be able to tell you the best strategy to protect your rights and the rights of your children based on the community you live in.

      Last, my concern with this author is she blames the Orders for unhealthy co-parenting. She created the Orders not the State. She could have fixed them with her ex at little to no cost assuming both are in agreement. I believe the ex is still silent in this blog. The Orders do not exist for the two adults. They exist exclusively for the children.

      • Wow. That’s a mouthful. Much appreciated WTC. I hear what you’re saying and the fact your wife or Ex is a family law attorney carries weight. I live in NC and my wife’s sister is… wait for it… a family law attorney. So in some ways I feel screwed before I even get started. I love my wife and our children and wish nothing more than to work through the BS but 8 yrs is 8yrs and I just don’t see it changing. Hopeful hasn’t become hateful, just hurtful. I don’t want to pick on my wife but I have a feeling if we went forward things would not go smoothly, and yes, I’m one of those tempted to turn-over and take it because I don’t have the money to fight.

        I watched a documentary about a month ago on Netflix. Y’all should watch it. It’s titled Divorce Corp. in the U.S. divorce is a $50 billion industry. In Sweden, it doesn’t even exist. Alimony, child support, fuggetaboutit. People just split and parent. Here we suck the life out of family’s and call it family law. I’d soon die then go through some of the crap divorces are made of. Thanks again for the advice. If I showed up as the aggressor on my doorstep you can bet my head will roll. I’ll have to tackle it with another angle. Thx again.

      • Yes the system is bad. The OAG only care about their numbers…not the children. The State politicians answer to voters not children so the Family Law Code is not logical in many ways and very outdated. The Code should be designed around the very children it is intended to protect but they are not. CPS, Adoption, Foster care and the Family Law Code are all broken. 80% of the OAG child support cases in TX are unmarried. Between suing my ex-wife to get her back into a co-parenting kicking and screaming and adopting a child 4 years ago, I have very little left for retirement so I will be working a very long time. Neither should cost tens of thousands of dollars but they do and yet to see the smile on their faces is priceless and worth every penny. The fact your wife’s sister is a Family Law Attorney is potentially scary; but, if she is a good heart’ed person she knows better than anyone how much pain the kids experience. She would advise your wife to do something very similar to what I sent you. Family Lawyers write the best Orders when it involves their personal family. They know how to right an order that is in the best interest of the child versus the best interest of their client assuming your not a “crazy” man. These default orders you read by this author and others are minimum orders and honestly those filing for divorce are usually hurt and upset at the time and never ask their attorney what is best. Sadly, a lot of attorneys suck. Attorneys that only do Family Law are generally a special class but few spouses tell their attorney to be fair to the other spouse….in the heat of the moment they want all that is theirs and that starts with the children. It does not pay as much as other legal fields. It is partly a vocation for those that like to work with custodial agreements. My wife worked for years in the OAG in child support and now as the lead attorney in a non-profit that helps low income people fix their family law issues. 90% of what she does is go to court to correct Orders written by attorneys that did a horrible job and make changes to original Orders as more kids or prison or domestic violence are you name crappy things that happen in life and the folks needs new Orders that reflect the reality they are in. In some cases, kids being raised by grandparents but no Orders reflect that. Fear of the unknown is the most crippling part of this nightmare your facing. Not knowing what will happen after the divorce occurs. Please trust me when I say your kids will be better off when both parents are happier people. Do not worry about hurting your kids or think they will turn on you. Love them and love them and just assure them that you will always be dad and always be standing beside them. Depending on the age of the kids, telling them why your marriage failed at the appropriate time in the future is about like telling them about Santa Clause. You’re only confirming what they already suspected. They are far more resilient than you can ever know and they know far more that is going on in your family than you think they do.

        Men and women are different creatures. Men tend to be single task “on and off” specialists especially emotionally. Women are multitasking machines in most cases and that does not bode well in divorce with kids. Men put it off until she does something and when she does she has is organized and ready which I warned you to be careful of. In other words, if you thinking like you are telling me then the odds are very good she is miles ahead of you so be careful. The Temp Orders are very intimidating. Only a lawyer can read them. You need to retain a lawyer just in case but as the other person commented, do not be intimidated to leave the house or do anything the Orders say until you get a lawyer as everything you do from that moment one will be used against you. I pray that should that day come that your sister in-law will be a wise counsel to your wife. Based on my experience, there was nothing I could do to stop the train wreck in my marriage. My ex lied and lied to get me to agree to accept the Orders and I trusted her and that was a mistake. If you believe the two of you can communicate and agree fundamentally to put the children first you may need to start having some “Come to Jesus” conversations about where to we go from here. It may be time to lay it on the table and talk about your options while your civil and polite to each other…as that can change and the sister in-law may be less inclined to be kind should your relationship get “ugly”. Hang in there. There is life after divorce for your entire family as that does not stop with the divorce. You are still a family and as long as you both accept that we are family married or unmarried….you will be OK….I have no doubt.

    • J, you have received some excellent advice from wtc. The other points I would add are:

      1. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. So ask for what is best for your kids.
      2. If you are wanting to retain custody of your kids, DO NOT MOVE OUT AND LEAVE THEM BEHIND. In custody cases, possession is 9/10ths of the law because if YOU can’t live with your ex, why would you leave your kids with her?
      3. Totally agree with wtc’s statement that whoever files first has the advantage. So, get your ducks in a row. It doesn’t HAVE to be contentious, but go about it wisely.
      4. Find out if your local court house has a “court facilitator.” A court facilitator can go over your documents, take a look and tell you if they are in order. Sometimes this is free. Other counties charge a nominal amount.

      Good luck!

    • Im a fellow father im curious…
      You separating your kids if you split?
      I assume/hope i read that wrong but assuming no lets just move on 🙂

      Is she a bad mom?
      Does she deserve to lose custody of them?

      Il be honest i see the advice below lawyer up I dont suggest this at all,

      Have a talk with your wife see if she agrees next thing you know your getting a 3 bedroom apartment near by she has kids one week you have kids one week,

      If she is a bad mom deserves to be taken to court gotcha…
      BUT all though very informative advice you have received
      Just notice no one said…
      Go talk to your wife, maybe she agrees you guys mutual split
      and verbally agree to week on week off…
      Speaking from experience but do note the conversation is not fun 🙂

      You know your boat better then I or any of these comments, but if you think the feeling maybe mutual i think you should just have a tough conversation ive been you, its not a fun life, have the conversation… If she is a good mom,
      YOU DONT DESERVE THEM 100% but agree to what you are 50/50 🙂

      Me and my babies momma, do week on week off, one drops off to school other parent picks up 🙂 (We dont even need to talk whoot whoot lol jk)

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  82. I totally agree that if the two parents can work It out on their own that is the best way for the child/children. I too was bonded to a parenting plan the first 5-6 years after my divorce. My ex made me stick to it religiously. And I did…..I had to. It was the law. I hated the fact that some judge was telling me how often he or I could see my children. I was granted sole custody and he was given visitation. Every other WE and 6 weeks in the summer. He did take those days/times at first. Then reality happen. There were days/times that maybe he or I could not abide by it. It makes it hard esp bc we both worked and lived about 45 min away from each other. Because of our parenting plan my children could not attend my nursing graduation ( I had worked hard for 3 years to obtain my RN degree and wanted them there)….they were the reason I did it to better provide for them as a single mother. After that I decided that was enough. He and I agreed to just go it on our own. IT was a good decision at first but then he started to slack as a parent. He would not pick them up and that got more frequent. He has since moved out of the area (he is about 4 hours away). and hasn’t seen them in about 4 months. HE rarely calls. I agree that it works best if two parents can agree but he took it too far and it was like he was let go of any responsibility to see them. I don’t understand how a parent can do that. I am greatfull that I get to spend all my time with them but I hurt for them and wish he would make more of an effort to see them.

    • I totally hear you! I am so sorry your kids weren’t able to be there for your graduation. That would have really hurt.

      My children haven’t seen their dad in over five years. He called each child on his or her birthday the year we went through the divorce and one Christmas. There were no more calls after that. He never wrote, no birthday cards. Certainly no presents. A few years ago, my youngest wrote and asked him to come visit her. He refused. She hasn’t seen him since she was five. She is now turning 11. I don’t think she would even be able to pick him out of a crowd if she saw him.

      As much as we’d love to protect our kids from the hurt of their dad’s disaffection, remember that your love and acceptance of them will go far to raise the to be well-rounded, secure and loving individuals.

  83. I LOVED reading your article! I am so happy for you that you have been able to work this out. Your daughter is so blessed to have parents that love her and put her first. My ex canceled all visitation four months after our divorce was finalized. My youngest wrote and asked him to come visit her but her refused. Later, when I needed to move abroad for work, he tried to fight it in court but the judge granted me permission, saying: “What difference does it make whether they are in the US or abroad when, by your own admission, you haven’t bothered to see them in three years?” It’s now been over five years since he has seen his children. He never writes. Never has, actually. Even when we were in the US, he never called, even on their birthdays or Christmas. I’m glad you’ve been able to work out what you have. That is how it SHOULD be.

  84. I divorced approx. 19 years ago (i was 21 years old at the time) and when I did I made our divorce decree state “open visitation” I refused to take my son from his father, i wanted him to be a big part of his life. I had no interest in the every other weekend & holiday thing, to me it was stupid. I thought as reasonable adults, surely we can work out visitation between ourselves on this journey, and we did with fantastic success. Now our son is grown and is 21. He grew up with parents that loved him and always worked together to make sure he was happy. There were times he would go to his dad’s house 3 weekends in a row. I had no problem with that as it made our son happy. If there were school issues or home issues with behavior I had no problem calling his father and getting him involved which I did often. When our son graduated high school I had a party for him and his father and his fathers wife and his paternal grandmother were all there. We had a great time. After his graduation I wrote my ex a letter and I thanked him for his support both emotionally and the financial support he provided all those years, i was very grateful. I always told my son that my love for him was greater than anything or anyone else in my life and I would do what I had to too make sure he was safe and happy and he always knew he was loved. Our son is now 21 and is the one of the most balanced and level headed people I know. I think it goes back to the decision made all those years ago, I didn’t want him to feel as if he had to choose one parent over the other. He never did. I believe that co-parenting works as long as you have 2 willing and self-less participants.
    My current husband went thru a very nasty divorce and had the opposite issue. An ex that makes it difficult up to this very day and his youngest from that marriage is 21. I think it really depends on the persons involved, I wanted to set a good example to my son and to my other children that forgiveness is possible, kindness and putting others first is a must. The result is that i have 3 kids that are close and love each other dearly and i have a solid and strong close relationship with my son. He has a close relationship with his father and he is happy.
    And to Ward Camp…..you sound like a bitter old man. From the attitude you projected in your post I am amazed any woman would be married to such a cynical and rude person. You are definitely not a person that is capable of co-parenting with that attitude. I feel sorry for your kid. You need to eat a slice of humble pie…better yet maybe the whole pie.

  85. My ex and I have been divorced 8 years and he has not seen our son in 6- his choice, but I “co-parent” with my ex’s family and we have a wonderful relationship. My (ex) SIL and MIL are very supportive of the choices My (now) husband and I make for our kids. Our 11 year old son has been struggling in school recently and we all sat down together last Sunday to make a plan and support him in his efforts to do better in school. We are spending Thanksgiving this year with them even because it works and we enjoy each other’s company. Divorce is never an easy thing to deal with, but you do move forward and better things can blossom from a potentially volatile situation. Cheers!

  86. Ohio has a standard parenting agreement that you get and it also states one weeknight (or two) for 2 hours. Every other weekend, even numbered holidays blah blah blah…
    We threw it out….
    My Son could not tolerate two weeks without his Dad. We started with half weekends and then we just threw the darn thing out.
    I am a Christian. And a God fearing woman. Don’t judge me for being Divorced. I am in NO way proud of it.
    I am proud of how we parent our kids though.
    Thank you for this wonderful article.

  87. I did this with my oldest child and her father, it was all about her She didn’t realize until she was in school, we separated and then divorced before she was 2 years old, that mommies and daddies lived together. She just knew that her parents loved her and that’s all that mattered. I saw my siblings go thru a divorce and use her children as pawns and I refused to place my child in that situation. If we couldn’t work it out, it was my child’s fault. God Bless You and yours for writing this article to show parents who can’t stay married that the only option is to hate the ex-spouse. Love is a much stronger emotion and we should lead with love first.

  88. I sure do wish it was possible to do this kind of schdule or even be able to compromise. My ex and I do nothing but disagree. My husband and I are all about the kids and being very involved in there life’s. Where over past 5 yrs my ex refused to be involved in any of kids activitys and actual discouraged them from sports because it cost money. Right now we have split joint custody and only reason he wants it that way is so he don’t pay support and can claim 2 of kids on his taxes. Your lucky to have an ex that wants to be involved and care and support your child.

  89. My ex and I have a court order. We have also amended jointly. We agreed the previous agreement wasn’t the best and made changes. We do go by the holiday schedule since it’s easy and we also have to share my step-son (I detest the word step) with his mother. This way we have all 4 boys together on our holidays. I also plan out our weekends pretty much a year in advance (already working on 2016) so that the boys will all be together every other weekend. When it comes to weeknights, he gets the boys 2 evening/wk. It works out to pretty much be every other day. If something comes up, we work out an agreement to trade nights. If he has a family function on my weekend, I allow him to take the boys and vise-versa. I told my ex to let my husband carry all the boys on his insurance because it costs less and is a better plan.

    Things,however, are not as easy with my husband’s ex. They were never married. She refused to put him on the birth certificate. We filed to establish paternity. We filed, and were awarded sole custody. If we don’t go by the court order there is no peace. She 99 out of 100 times will not work with us.

    Bottom line. It comes down to what works best for each individual child.

  90. “Instead of being controlling jerks, we decided to give each other some slack and truly stop to think about what was best for our little girl”

    It truly is this easy, My babies momma wanted to make me a weekend dad,
    so I countered and tried to make her a weekend mom,
    BUT we agreed (lawyer free) week on week off!

    I drop my daughter off to school Monday, She picks her up That monday (ViceVersa)
    We are amicable but how you are with your ex shouldnt matter, an ex is just that, but you were brought together for a reason, I dont think anyone was intended to be a part time parent!

    Its now been 5yrs (she 11) I have a healthy smart little lady 🙂
    (FYI Do suggest you have both places set up, (Cloths, Toys, Games) I too was raised by separated parents that one memory i still have having to pack my stuff up both ends all the time… Kids shouldn’t need to do this)

  91. This article describes me and my daughters father. We split when she was 3. The only difference is that we’ve never had court papers to begin with. We struggled the first few years, with life changes. You couldn’t be more right in your approach. Deciding to put our daughter first became the go-to for making plans and decisions. We did half the week with him, half the week with me for the most part. We had full houses each, so going back and forth was easier. If he wanted her an extra day or three, so be it. Any time a life challenge hit one of us, the other would step up. He lives in another state now, due to his job, but not only does he visit her regularly, he pays extra for her things, medical, daycare, anything she needs. He knows my being full time with her isn’t easy. And rightly compensates, willingly. We are friends. We are Co parents. We do all that is necessary to provide for our daughter, who turns 11 next month. 8 years of loving parents, although separated. If you and your ex have what it takes to do this, I recommend it. Anyone who disagrees, may not be in the position to set aside feelings and do it from the ‘child comes first’ perspective. Or maybe their ex doesn’t. With two mature adults, making this decision should be a no brainer.

  92. I am so glad to see other people doing this! It’s what my ex husband and I have done all along. He’s one of my closest friend’s now and our “family” couldn’t be better. Co parenting just works for us.

  93. Absolutely agree 100%. When my husband and I separated we already agreed there would be nothing legal between us. Nothing good can come from the law deciding what’s best for OUR own children when we know we care more about their wellbeing than our own selfish wants. It’s refreshing to see so many people feeling the same way. I feel a strong bond with my children’s father. We are best friends and can still have fun and hang out. We are still a family. I know the kids are better for it as well.

  94. Kala hunn, i know exactly what you mean. You are not trying to control your ex or the children you just dont want them hurt by his extreme selfishness. Dont take hercomment too hard when people cant see whats really going on they dont understand how hard it is for a parent to watch their child suffer with knowing they are not important to one of their parent. To see the hurt look on their face when they know dad isnt interested in them, what they want, or what they have to say. It makes us want to protect them from being hurt like that!

  95. If you were willing to put forth that much effort and work that hard during the custody saga…why weren’t you both willing to do the same regarding your marriage for the sake of your daughter so she wouldn’t be in that position in the first place?

  96. I did not read every comment so forgive me if this question has already been answered. If the parenting time arrangement, whether court ordered or agreed upon, had your daughter primarily with her father (this question having nothing related to mother/father bias but only as the perspective of the author) would you be so accepting of this arrangement? And to make perfectly clear, this is not meant to be on the offensive. If your husband had primary physical custody and he had another woman lIving with him acting as a co parent during his time, could you be as accepting of the arrangement?

  97. I’m so glad this works for you and your family. I wish I could say this would work for my ex and I but it never would. He’s mentally ill and extremely delusional with his judgement. My journey is just beginning and I hope I can give my son the best life possible.

  98. My ex is a Narcissist (to the point of being a psychopath). Try co-parentng with THAT. One of my two kids is special needs. While I love my kids to the end of the Earth, their mother’s selfishness and control issues make me want to just walk away from them all. I don’t and I haven’t but while I gave my life to them all when married, I continue to give what is left of my broken life to my kids. …..WTC’s advice is spot on, despite the fact that you all attack him. He lives in the real world that so many of the rest of you do not, so you cannot relate.

  99. If your daughter is such a priority, was there no possible way of working out a way to live harmoniously without getting divorced which would make life even less complicated for her by having only one set of parents?

    • That does not benefit the child. My parents divorced when I was in second grade and it was the biggest relief for me, as a child. I was never sad or bitter about their divorce because they did not belong together and they were both much better people without each other. What benefits a child is to see a marriage in which two people love and respect each other and are a team, even if that means she gets four parents instead of two. She benefits from parents who parent better, and get along better as two separate families, rather than trying to force a sham of a marriage “for the children”.

      There is nothing more selfish than using “for the children” as an excuse to stay in a loveless marriage because you’re too lazy to file divorce papers.

  100. I applaud the author and her ex for being able to work together! My ex was cheating and “switched teams” on me, to a lesbian relationship, and then tried to remove me from our kids lives. The family court systems default to favor the mom, and in my area lesbians are treated like civil rights heroes while men are outsiders. I had to fight very hard for my own relationship with my kids. The ex and I do go off script on the agreement once in awhile, to cooperate in the best interest of the kids, but I make sure these things are in writing. Reality is, many people are trying their best to co-parent in the face of constant threat of severed relationships with their kids. I think you can see from the comments here that it’s easy for primary parent to appear magnanimous in feel-good coparenting stories, and lay claim to the moral high ground, but when you’re in the position of fighting to save your relationship with your kids, it is a whole different perspective.

  101. My exhusband and I did this. I stopped all child support, visitation requirment. We proudly stood in front of a judge and Said , this is about our son and not us. We were married 15 years , best friends, and during the divorce , that we both never wanted but years of hurt we couldn’t not. That last day in court, when I am telling the judge ,to release him of everything, I watch the amazing father of my son , come back to me.. After that day, he has never not been there for my son, not one missed day, time or event. Throwing away the visitation sit up by the judge was one of my best decision. Now we are mom and dad and son!!!!!we are very much a happy family even divorced. .. More parents


  102. I am a child of divorced parents along with going through a divorce myself. While every situation is different, the child’s needs come first. The child did not choose his or her parents. Only if the situation is actually a threat to the well-being of the child will any type of restrictions be placed upon the arrangements. Your opinion of the other parent does not stand up in any situation. Every parent has there right to spend time with their child, but it’s up to the ADULTS to be THE ADULTS and realize both have families and events come up. Children are not a possession. They are looking to their parents to get along because they love both and don’t want to hurt either one regardless of a boyfriend, girlfriend or remarriage. Using them as pawns to hurt one another only teaches the child hatred and manipulation. When they grow up you wonder what happened and where did they get it from? Take a look in the mirror…

  103. This is a great idea in theory and for those of you who are able to co parent without a custody agreement that’s great. In reality that’s not the case for many of us. My ex would never agree to toss our custody plan. We share 50/50 legal and physical custody. If I so much as ask to pick up our son an hour early or an hour late it’s a huge ordeal and not even worth asking. He insists we go by our court ordered plan word for word. It’s exhausting. I know I’m the reasonable co parent because I don’t keep my son from important family events and occasions on his side even if it’s “my time”. It’s an extremely hard lesson to learn that people are not always going to do for you as you do for them- especially when it’s your child in question. As a mother/parent I only want what is going to be best for my son but trying to work with someone who only thinks and feels from their head and never their heart is devestating.

    • Yep, my ex is one of those. Never budges an inch without days of back and forth battling emails, complete with verbal abuse, belittling, and various other methods of control and intimidation. I put up with his crap because I refuse to allow him to scare me away from my own daughters.

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  105. I re-posted this on my blog! My ex and I do this too, it took a year or so, but our children flourish because of it! Great blog, I’ll be following 🙂

  106. We were 20 when our son was born. We never married and split before I even found out I was pregnant. My son is now 5 and his father, his wife, and I co-parent together. We’ve never been to court and he pays child support willingly. We’re all friends and care about each other and respect each other. The only reasons why co-parenting wouldn’t work is selfishness and jealousy of a step-parent. Being an adult means putting petty grievances aside and doing what is best or the child. Many people say “I’ll do anything for my child”, well how about getting along with the other parent? My son doesn’t know a life where his parents fight. He only knows love.

  107. I believe this is what 2 people with their childs best interest at heart can do- Unfortunately, too many divorced couples cannot get past the hurt, anger & retaliation thoughts to put their child first- Hence the courts have no choice but to intercede & try to make visitation fair- I am sure all Judges would love it if parents could be this focused on their child, instead of their own agendas & the need to mske the orher the bad guy- Our poor children getting harmed by their adult parents

  108. I applaud this approach, however, not everyone is mature enough to follow suit. Especially when there are residual feelings involved and the separation wasn’t mutual. All too often I’ve seen women who feel entitled to everything and all the man just because he has a child with her and has moved on. That ugly thing called jealousy. Where the child is used as a pawn to manipulate to one parents advantage.

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  110. This makes me think of some of the polyamorous families I know. people always assume it’s bad for the children, when really you have three or more people who WANT that child in their lives taking care of them and teaching them. The ones I know that all live together or are very close often have some of the most well-rounded children I’ve ever met, and that’s as someone who works with kids for a living. As long as the child is healthy, educated, and loved, the dynamic of the family could be a single parent, or six parents. As long as you work together. I am very happy for you and your daughter. 🙂

    • Now THAT is a well balanced reply, Kim Frazee. I expect you may get pounced on by some appalled by the idea of polyamorous relationships, but you said it well: “As long as the child is healthy, edcated, and lved,” that really is what counts.

  111. This blog post continues to haunt me, more so due to many of the self righteous commenters than the original post itself. Thoughts, “not everyone is mature enough..”, ““As long as the child is healthy, edcated, and loved,”, “2 people with their childs best interest at heart” etc…. What is in the best interest of children is two parents, living, loving together and staying together. This includes working through tough times. A wedding vow is a PROMISE to God and that other person. As the parent you are THE role model that children will grow up and emulate. What justifies divorce? It is always anger, hate, selfishness on one or both parties part. Somebody didn’t manage their heart, always a selfish act. …………….
    Only one (Biblical) right reason for divorce: ADULTERY. Now circling back up to the theme here; “trusting” your ex to be fair sharing your children is a lot to ask for a failed marriage (feel free to insert the word “promise” or “marriage” or “vow” there). Trust has already been breeched. ………….

    I am happy for those of you that are able to be (become?) decent partners in the child rearing post marriage relationship but to think that you are “better”, “more mature”, or “doing this in the children’s best interest” when many of us are presented with an ex who is evil, or selfish, or continuing to use the kids as a weapon, are simply wrong. Consider yourself failures first at giving your children less than your best in keeping an intact family, and secondly lucky that you are able to now get along with the ex “for the sake of the children”. …….. And polyamory, good for kids? You gotta be kidding. Where are your morals?

    • Your response surprised me, Dee. After spanking others for being “self righteous” you then proceeded to give a very self righteous answer. Your answer was a very Christian answer, but it was not a Biblical answer and there is a difference.

      1) It is a common misconception among Christians that adultery is the only Biblical grounds for divorce, but if you would read Ezra 9 and 10, you will read a heart breaking account of scores of marriages being set aside. Why? Because they were “unequally yoked,” to use a Christian term. “And some of them had wives by whom they had children.” (Ezra 10:44) These marriages were dissolved for no other reason than the men had knowingly married unbelievers. NOTHING is said about the women having been unfaithful. And when the men set aside their wives, they also rejected the children those wives had born. Can you imagine the untold suffering of those women and children, forced to return to the mother’s childhood home in disgrace for having been set aside? And for what? Because the father suddenly decided to “get religion”?

      2)You appeal to Biblical standards, denouncing the morals of polyamorous individuals but how self righteous is that? David, “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) had eight wives and at least 10 concubines. Abraham, the righteous patriarch, had a total of three recorded wives (two at a time) and the Bible doesn’t even tell us how many concubines he had, but it sounds like a lot. (Genesis 25:6) There are many more examples of men, lauded in Scripture for being so good, who were bigamists or polygamists.

      3) You said: “What is in the best interest of children is two parents, living, loving together and staying together. This includes working through tough times.” Judging others much, Dee? A divorce is NEVER an “easy out”. It is the option of last resort when everything else you have tried has FAILED.

      My children blossomed emotionally AND spiritually when I divorced their father. Getting them out of a bad situation was the best thing I could have done for them. Had I stayed in the marriage, I would have lost them because their mental image of God as a loving FATHER was being destroyed by their emotionally abusive earthly father. Don’t tell me I should have kept them in that situation because “God hates divorce.” You know what? So do I! But it was necessary to get my children out of that situation.

      What is self righteous is to judge others as not being loving enough, not being forgiving enough, not being committed to their vows enough, if they felt they had to get divorced for reasons other than infidelity.

      • In response to Rhiannon:
        I avoided quoting Scripture because I feel it tends to be a high brow, condescending approach for a discussion. Your understanding and interpretation of Scripture is counter to every other Christian interpretation I have ever heard,but that is okay. If you find justification for polyamory or divorce then run with it. I prefer to stick with “God abhors divorce”, and the two will become one flesh, let no one separate” Heck, go read Matthew 19. “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” That’s Jesus telling you what and why God feels about divorce (not some out of context event from 4,000 years before Christ) Go argue with Him and call Him self righteous, not me. I can’t comprehend God’s reasoning for much of the universe, so I won’t bother to go figure out the why in the Book of Ezra says what it does….
        Does divorce happen – yes. I myself have been divorced three times. Not something I am proud of but it is hardly a platform from which I can throw stones at anyone else or that allows me to be self righteous.
        My experiences drives me to hate divorce, not unlike yourself….
        Let’s circle back to the real topic: My frustration (not self righteousness) was at the many commenters who cannot relate to having a Narcissist/Psychopath ex who is manipulating. I think we actually have common ground there as well. I am happy for those who can pull that off, I just can’t, as I doubt they can relate to my situation (or yours). …
        ..And I will stand by my statement: what is best for children is to be raised by two parents who can stay in love with each other and figure out how to keep it together.

      • Response to Dee: Thank you for clarifying your response. My apologies for the heat of my response to your original post as I see we are actually similar, though not identical, in our beliefs. JFYI, I am not now, nor have I ever been involved in a polyamorous relationship nor would I want to be. However, I won’t judge those who are. I have been married once for 17 years and am now divorced. While I could never prove infidelity (although it would explain a lot), he does fit the clinical definition of a sociopath — something it sounds like you have sadly had experience with yourself. I am sorry. Only someone who has been there/experienced that can fully understand how damaging such a relationship can be.

        I would agree that the best scenario is two parents who love each other, raising their kids together in the same home. However, there are extenuating circumstances (such as an ex who is sociopathic). I do not believe God expects anyone to remain married under those circumstances that are so damaging to both spouse and children. To pontificate, “God hates divorce” to someone when you don’t know the circumstances leading to that decision (as a couple did to me when I got a divorce) I also feel is wrong. Those who can make a custody arrangement work as this article is describing – all power to them. For those of us who cannot, we should not be judged any more than ANYone should be judged for feeling they have no other option than to get a divorce.

        Best wishes to you in your parenting. As for having been married and divorced three times, I am sure that was not anything you would ever have chosen had you seen any other viable option, so no one should ever judge you for the decisions you were forced to make. Far better to divorce than to remain in a bad situation that damages you, your children, and your relationship with your Creator.

  112. I thought this is what would happen with my ex, but he has serious anger issues, and makes every single parenting interaction all about trying to punish me, make me feel bad about some aspect of myself, or to lord over any little bit of control over me that he can. Some people are just hostile narcissists, and no matter how “nice” and cooperative we try to be, no matter how many times we offer them the peace pipe and the chance to move forward, they will continue to create problems and disharmony.

  113. Reblogged this on mugsypryor and commented:
    This is precisely what my ex-husband and I did after our divorce. We have 2 very healthy, well-adjusted teenaged boys who love and respect both of their parents. They also respect other adults, their teachers, their grandparents, their friends’ parents… and this is largely due to the way that their father and I treat one another, as well as them. They learned respectful behavior from us, their parents and ‘life-guides’.

    Conversely, my own parents’ divorce and subsequent marriages and divorces were nasty situations, rife with screaming and name-calling, both in private and sometimes in public, too. The police were called a few times to our different homes and bank accounts were drained while the other spouse was away and lawyers were paid handsomely. I swore I would never put children through such suffering and I believe I’ve kept my word. My ex-husband would agree.

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    • Our daughter doesn’t know any different. It’s totally normal to her. Actually she grosses out a little when her dad and I give each other hugs but she’s really just being silly. Our other kids have known it to be this way all of their lives so they also don’t know any different and my ex husband and his wife love on our others kids every time they see them. This is just the norm for us.

  115. On behalf of your daughter and all the other children involved in both yours and your ex-husband life I would like to say thank you so much for all the love. I was not so lucky with the parents involved in my life as a child. I pray I never have to experience a divorce, but if I do I hope your story can be inspiration to me and my husband for our daughter. Thank you for giving your daughter a positive life when there is so much negative in the world. God bless you and your entire family!

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  117. Reblogged this on Candice Curry – Women With Worth and commented:

    We took the time to listen to each other and find out what worked in each of our families. We stepped outside the box and created our own custody agreement that basically say that she’s equally both of our daughter. If she’s with him or me, she’s with family and that’s what matters.

    We decided to simply share in the joy of raising our little girl together and to see each others relationship with her as equally important as our own.

  118. Pingback: Number One Rule In Co-Parenting: Get Over Yourself. | Candice Curry – Women With Worth

  119. My husband and I are appalled at the family courts here in Ohio, we are stretching out our divorce because of it. We are divorcing because we’re not in love with each other, and want different things in life, but we’re still best friends. We have 2 teenage girls, one of which is almost 18. Neither of us want support payments, but it is mandatory in Ohio. We both provide for our girls…so we have devised a way around it. My children who have decided that they want to live with their father will have support money put in a joint bank account that both my ex and I have access to. I have been a primarily stay at home mom for the entirety of my daughter’s lives until I went back to college. Because where we live now is in economic distress I won’t be able to find a job here to pay rent let alone anything else, so I am moving to a bigger city with better prospects and it’s unfair to take the girls away from their home, friends and school. What the courts don’t care, and what my ex does is that I have financial stability and we have decided whatever support payment I have to make will be halved if not fully returned based on the girls’ shopping needs…prom, sports etc, by my ex as he’s always been the bread winner and fully financial responsibility and nothing needs to change.

    In custody arrangements its about adults being adults and doing whats best for the children. I love my girls, them living with their father who is more financially stable, and in their childhood home is our best option. It’s not about what is better for him or I, but what is better for them.

  120. Yes. Fire the lawyers and jail the judges for violating your child’s human rights. You use some terms that Christians use which is good, until you get to the last paragraph, your ‘side note’ which are the words of the anti-Christian culture, and completely defeat the entire page. If you think that the other parent is unhealthy, then obey Christ’s command in Matthew 18 to resolve disputes by a Bible-believing church leadership. Common sense and research proves that inn almost all cases, the parent who wants the most parenting time is the unhealthy parent.

  121. Pingback: Co-Parenting with Kindness - A Guest Post - Just Vibe Houston

  122. Whoa yeah…. I also have no orders at all any more… they made things so very difficult… and as long as the kids are put first then they are definitely best thrown in the bin!!

    Mind you – we work like crazy, still, but now – its to ensure things are great for the girls…. and albeit that can take a ton of civility and harmony and gratitude and flexibility and calm etc etc… BUT, the result = THEY are SO MUCH better off for my (different type) of discomfort… (anger and frustration take a whole lot more from you by the way + a bad outcome for your kids)

    oh – and before you attack me and say your situation is ‘worse’ – we were in court for 8 years prior to agreeing to turf the orders, and i had wasted $350,000 on solicitors myself, plus her losses so nothing happened ‘organically’ or ‘was easy’ or anything!!
    (I.e: don’t think I’m a ‘corner case’ or something unique where everyone was ‘pretty happy’ and getting along and it all went well etc…. we had all the usual Intervention Orders and lies in court and family and friend manipulations and fighting and abuse…. hell my ex even hired a perron to hurt me at one point (hitman), so please dont bleat on about your circumstances predicate that no action is possible from you… that there’s nothing you can do etc.

    I spent 4 more years on the journey to clear things up with my daughters mum, long after the court stuff had all finished etc (and all the money had I dried up) but it was still SO worth it… my kids are wonderful… and they’d have no idea (nor should they) about what the ‘alternate’ life and outcome would have been had i stayed stuck in my own morass of crap… thinking about it – me and her mum really are just awesome!!

    Therefore – you cant tell me it’s TOO LATE, or NOT REPAIRABLE and your situation is ‘DIFFERENT’….. that’s weak and self-focused BS!!! i helped 300 blokes through family court after that and i can tell you – those that wont help themselves and are really about control have no hope until they get that (just like an alcoholic needs to understand they are an alcoholic before they even have a tiny chance of stopping)

    Get to fixing it and get to flexible arrangements that aren’t through a court…. and there are many ways to do that…


    sit and whine for another 10 years and destroy the chances that your kids deserve to have at you showing how you GREAT you are and how great you can be and that you can take the lead and will drive to resolve anything that matters to them……. i mean isnt that a better definition of real COURAGE…. and what it might mean to be a man?? and best of all – SHOWING your kids how IMPORTANT they therfore really are, to you????

  123. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this story, yet it make me very sad the courts guided this family through was is far to often common practice into a parenting plan which minimized one of your parenting roles. Your daughter, your grandchildren, and your community will reap the rewards of your selfless child focused parenting.

    I would encourage everyone reading this story to find and Join the Shared parenting movements through the vast number of organizations leading reform today. I am a member of the National Parents Organization and highly recommend them, but also Leading Women for Shared Parenting, Time to Put Kids First, Americans for Equal Shared Parenting, and Even The Fathers Rights Movement are all working very diligently towards reforming the process into something which serves kids much more effectively.

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