Equality (Parenting), how important is it?
The Child Support Agency among other Government departments, have moved towards or even fully to, equality in terms of parenting of children. I think this is a good move.
Gone are the days when mothers outranked fathers in terms of "but I gave birth to our child and I'm the mother" as being the norm. Fathers are just as important but as a dad myself that experienced a failed marriage when my girls were 7 and 4yo in 1996 I can tell you that many shunned me for not "sticking it out". My ex said "I'm the mother so the kids should stay with me" and a few days later "I'm the mother so you'll pay child support and have visits every second weekend". This dictation of terms was actually accurate them days of prediction of where it would all end up and indeed that remained so for the next 14 years. Courts favoured the mother.
The issue for this post to address is- just because parents separate and one parent cares for the child/children more than the other (time wise) should not result in a situation whereby the other parent is less of a parent. Fast forward 5 years and parent and teacher night was coming up. I contacted our childrens mother to ask if she'd be interested in accompanying me and the kids to that event. "Nah, all that is taken care of, you dont have to worry about the girls education just do your visits". I felt like a favourite uncle. I attended alone.
This isnt about me, my kids are grown up now. It is a reflection on how it used to be and my sadness when I hear about a father , less often a mother, being treated as less of a parent. It is all too familiar that one parent holds deep resentment to the other parent and sometimes tries to rid them from the scene altogether. IF the parent with visitations is a non abusive parent (that's important) then embrace that as a lucky prize even if you now loathe him/her. He/she is equal in terms of the role of parent, that is important that you hold that close to your heart for your children's future because down the track resentment can emerge from the children for any maltreatment of the other parent.
To give our kids the best possible life under those circumstances we should make an effort to be friendly to the other parent. My ex was toxic to me. It was really hard for both of us to talk but we did make that effort for 10-20 minutes once a month in front of the kids at the gate when dropping them off. Our children laughed and played in our presence even though my fatherhood was undermined by her.
My heart goes out to the parents who are so often cast aside as no longer needed when a marriage ends. It breaks for the parent who was there for every moment, who loves that child more than anything, who often went above and beyond (as I’m my experience it’s often controlling spouses who wield children as weapons) and suddenly is expected to fade into the distance but conveniently still expected to financially support all concerned. And most of all my heart goes out to the child, who is forced to be without their parent, a loss so great it is almost unimaginable, and to have another parent so selfish as to be willing to inflict that type of pain/loss on to them as collateral damage in the war against their ex. From what I have seen, families are also complicit, manipulating the narrative as to paint the ex as some sort of deadbeat parent and the kids would be “better off” without them, disgusting behavior. When I’m reality, the toxic parent is often the one wielding their children as weapons, and the children would do well to not have that influence 100% of the time. I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child, or rather all sorts of role models involved in their life so as to provide a well-rounded child and help guard against any parental “blind spots”. I’m glad to hear that things are now changing with respect to this, with a renewed focus on equality and I hope that children will be less able to be used as pawns in these games moving forward. I hope that parents seeking to see their children are now able to and I hope that parents seeking to withhold custody are punished for doing so unless there is a very good reason for doing so.
Hello Tony, a good thread because years ago the courts favoured the mothers and gave them the majority of assets, leaving the father with just a hair brush, so to speak of, when in fact the kids wanted to be with their dad, rather than their mum, who may already have a new partner reaping all the rewards, an unjust court decision.
Fortunately a fairer system has been employed as you can begin discussions with a mentor (preferably free) who will have several conversations between the couple so a final decision has been made.
This is taken to one of the two who have instigated a lawyer where the contract is drawn up and then handed over to the courts, who go through the documentation and access the decision and decide whether or not it then be a legal document and then processed.
If it's not actually legal, then it has to be altered, but make sure that 50/50 is written down for having access with the kids.
Absolutely Geoff, these days are better in terms of courts treating parents as equal as they can.
The ideal for parents of young children upon separation is to seek a friendship of sorts with the other parent, working in together with minding them, paying for costs all with the same goals is great, but rarely occurs.
What used to annoy me about my troubles finding the above with my ex wife was other people judgements on the problems of "getting along". The common phrase used to be made "it takes two"... meaning it takes to to create conflict. No it doesnt.
Some people, regardless of how friendly and good intent you have, will take the view that "you divorced me so I want nothing to do with you". So there is plenty of ex wives, ex husbands that have tried their heart out to make sure the children get the best upbringing possible under the circumstances. That means making an effort with your ex to communicate effectively and cordially. For some however that is simply not possible because they have an inbuilt personality problem with those that oppose them. Divorcing these people is taken as opposition, opposing their character.
To those people I say- taking things personally will not aid the children. They deserve a connection between the parents that puts a smile on their dial.