If you have determined that there is absolutely nothing you can do to save your marriage (see previous post), then you need to sit down and determine if fighting for custody is worth it? I know, I know, the easy answer is “yes”. Your friends and family will tell you “yes” you have to fight. Society is going to tell you, “You should fight.” But the reality is, it is time to sit down and be real with yourself. Do you really WANT custody? Are you really the better parent? Why do you want custody? Are your answers to these questions truly noble and in the best interest of your children? Or are you just feeling very vindictive, angry at your Ex, or upset about the possibility of paying child support?
Deciding It is Worth the Fight for Custody
You need to stop what you’re doing, go to the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror the give some serious thought to the following statements. Being a custodial parent is tough. While still being the financial provider, you’ll do most of the parenting, you’ll do most of the homework, you’ll do most of the spending, you’ll deal with most of the problems. You’ll be the main one to staying home when your kids are sick. You’ll be the primary person running them to piano lessons, drilling them on their multiplication tables, disciplining them on their misbehavior. You’ll get the first call from the principal when an issue arises at school and from the police officer when they get caught toilet papering a house in their teens. DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS JOB?
If you are still answering “yes” to this question, now let me clarify the fight you are really about to be up against. Even though we are a decade into the 21st century, our legal system operates very unfavorably to dads seeking primary custody. You will have to be 200 times better than your Ex, in the top 5% of other dads in your parenting skills, and spend double the amount of money on your case than most custody battles. But is it worth all that? Only you can answer that. I need you to answer it honestly. If you still think it is worth the cost, then I need for you to decide right now to fight, to go all the way, and to win! Making a decision to do something IS the first step! Being mentally committed to this extensive task is a MUST!
Let’s say you have looked in the mirror, counted the cost, and realize you are not up for the fight. That’s ok too. That is a decision as well, at least you know where you REALLY stand. You may still want to try to get the best access to your children. You need to study your rights to prevent your Ex from taking advantage of you. You are still ahead of the game. The worst possible situation, which I see all the time, is a guy who is fighting but has not “decided” to really fight. That is a formula for losing.
One final thought. I know some good dads and moms that realized they are not up for the job. Their Ex really is the better parent. It hurts to say, but sometime that is the best for their children and in their situation, it just might be.
So have you decided to fight? What makes you the better parent?
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