This morning I watched the news and saw what I thought was a fantasy world. A man’s daughter was getting married and right before he walked her down the aisle he grabbed her stepfather’s hand and said “you deserve this too. You worked as hard as I did to get her here.” The story included that the child’s parents had been involved in a bitter custody battle for years and that her step-father was devastated at the thought of just being a guest at his step-daughter’s wedding. The father went on, on his own and without telling anyone else, to devise a plan to involve his daughter’s step-father in this significant occasion, giving his daughter a gift that she will forever treasure.
This seemed like a fantasy world to me because I work with custody battles every day. But this story cried out to me because, in this moment, this father put aside the prior battles over his child, and thought only about what his daughter wanted, not what he did. This father provided a memory to his daughter that is immeasurable- – not just because it was her wedding day but because her father allowed all the important people in her life to be part of her special day.
We often wonder as divorce lawyers how children can come out of a divorce unscathed. In my view, it takes the parents cooperating with each other to determine what is in the child’s best interest. That means how parents and stepparents handle interactions at parties, school events, weddings and holidays, it means treating the other parent with respect (even if you think it is not deserved), and it means taking the high road even when you think you should not “have to”.
As the holidays approach, think about how you can make this a special time for your children, whether you are in the middle of a divorce or divorced long ago. Think about what is important to your child. Think about what your child needs to have a happy holiday. Consider options of seeing both parents at Christmas, even though a court order may not require it; consider offering time during a Thanksgiving break that allows both parents to celebrate. After divorce, families need to make new traditions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work around the needs of the children and think of their interests in establishing these new rituals.
For advice about family law matter, please contact one of the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.