Splitting up with the parent of your kids is an extremely difficult decision. I respect the rough road my clients embark upon when they’re choosing to end the relationship. And as I remind them time after time, “you’re going to be a family forever.” I want to make sure my clients understand that the choices they make on behalf of their children are only a part of the equation. The manner in which they decide is another important aspect.
Believe me, I’ve seen anger, bitterness, and sadness when it comes to talking about the kids. Custody, visitation, child support, who gets them on Christmas morning, and who gets to take them trick-or-treating on Halloween can be huge battles. But not always. Many of my clients are able to avoid the bickering, and I want to acknowledge some co-parenting superstars.
Check out my three nominees for the coveted “CPA,” also known as the Co-Parenting Award.
My first CPA nominee is the team of Joel and Stephanie. They have been apart longer than they’ve been together, and have figured out how to successfully co-parent their son. Joel has a new wife and a baby daughter. Stephanie has a terrific boyfriend. The two families vacation together, and even hang out for barbecues and to watch sporting events. The half-siblings adore each other because they spend quality time together. Joel and Stephanie have figured out how to set a terrific example for their son.
My second CPA nominee is the team of Anna and Andrew, whose relationship fell apart while Anna was pregnant with their baby girl. When Mia was a newborn, Andrew took Anna to Court because of custody and visitation issues. Andrew wanted to keep the baby overnight several nights a week, and, as Anna was nursing the baby, she naturally wasn’t on board. Through mediation, trial and error, and compromise, these two co-parents have worked out an arrangement that is in the best interests of their now three-year-old. Mia is a happy, well-adjusted toddler who knows she’s loved and wanted.
And the final nominee CPA nominee is the team of Jason and Lindsay. Their divorce resulted in the shared custody of two teenagers, and they were determined to stay on the same page with each other about the issues concerning their almost grown-up kids. Although they didn’t always agree about their daughter dating and their son driving, Jason and Lindsay periodically met for coffee (without the kids) to share their concerns and arrive at decisions that were in the best interests of the family. Jason was the designated note-taker at these meetings, and afterwards, he’d send Lindsay an email to make sure their agreements were in writing.
Now, the tough decision is yours. Please comment with your vote for the CPA award. Will you choose Joel and Stephanie? Or Anna and Andrew? Or maybe Jason and Lindsay? I need your help, so thanks in advance!