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Ask Coach Jen K. Your Own Question

Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1744
Experience:  Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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I am in the beginning stages of a divorce. We have 2 children,

Customer Question

I am in the beginning stages of a divorce. We have 2 children, 3 yrs and 4 1/2 yrs old. My wife , who wants the divorce, is moving about 3 hours away. Right now she is moving in with a friend while she finds a job and then a place to live. She keeps pushing for 50/50 custody. While I generally agree with 50/50 custody at the core of it, I do not agree with when it means shuttling the kids 3+ hours every weekend, having the trying to cope with 2 different daycares (different schedules, different rules, different friends, etc). Plus, next fall our oldest will start school and then obviously, 50/50 won't be an option at all.

What is truly better for the kids: Try to make 50/50 work for now and then change their schedule and routine next fall when school starts? Or should I push for full physical custody from the start (with ample visitation with mom of course) so that they remain in the same house they have always lived as well as stay in the same daycare/preschool that have always had and both parents really like and trust?

We are both be pretty amicable about everything with the divorce so far and are really trying do what is best for the kids. But what really is best?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 1 year ago.

Customer:

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families. I am also a mom of Twins.

Customer:

I think the move being 3 hours away can be very disrupting for the kids. The commute will be tough, the change in schools, the change in family environment, etc

Customer:

I am glad things are amicable. Is there a way to have her remain close by and not move so far away so that some semblance of routine can be maintained for them?

Customer :

I highly doubt it. I tried to get her to stay local or withinXXXXX but she refused. She wants to get closer to the rest of her family, which is about 4 hours away. The 3 hours is her idea of a compromise so that I won't have to drive as far.

Customer:

I am sorry to hear that. It is all in how you handle any transition but this could be tough for all involved. It is a lot of shuttling back and forth and a lot for them to handle.

Customer:

In many divorces when children are involved couples work with their attorney to put it in the agreements that one parent cannot move more than a specified amount of miles. You may want to speak with your attorney about that.

Customer :

I really would like for them to remain with me in the same house, community day care that they are used to, but I also don't want them to not see their mom.

Customer:

I hear you. You sound like a thoughtful and loving man.

Customer:

I would suggest speaking to the attorney about putting a cap on how far she can move which would be in the best interest of the kids.

Customer :

There is no law in MI to keep a parent from moving a set distance. I can get custody changed if one of us moves, but there is nothing to prevent her from moving.

Customer:

you are in a tough spot. I am with you that this could be very disrupting for them. They are young and will have a lot to deal with around this and I hear that you dont want to give up custody either.

Customer:

I would appeal to her again about the most being one hour away which is still a lot and see how she can hear you and respond. If not then you need to proceed as to what feels best for you and what you think is best for your kids.

Customer :

With school starting for our oldest next year, it it better to do 50/50 now and then change custody next fall? With a 3 hours commute, one of us will have to primary so that she can attend school. Is 50/50 when it entails 2 differents daycares/preschools even a good idea? I know it means lots of time with both parents, which is great, but which is more important? Time with parents or uniformity and consistency, especially know it will change to a one primary parents situation in less than a year.

Customer:

In my opinion I believe that the constant switching can make things difficult for them.

Customer :

That is kind of what I think as well and what most I have read online seems to say. I am just afraid of it turning ugly between the two of us if/when I try to go for full custody when my wife moves out.

Customer:

2 day cares and 2 schools is a lot. separation anxiety is high at these ages to begin with and can be made worse by the inconsistency and constant change. They need trust and reliance and consistency at this age.

Customer:

Yes I dont want it ugly either. Talk with your attorney and address all of the concerns and see the best course of action.

Customer:

Kids that age dont have the skills yet to process all of the changes.

Customer:

Ca I support you any further?

Customer :

No thank you. This helps.

Customer:

ok. I wish you the best. Please take a moment to click on the rating tab. MY goal has been to provide you with excellent support.

Customer:

Can you do that for me now please?

Customer:

I am not credited for my time otherwise.

Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1744
Experience: Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
Coach Jen K. and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My wife and I are still working on a custody agreement. She has moved out and is 3 hours away but has so far agreed to me having the kids during the week and she has them most weekends. Now I am sort of second guessing myself a bit. What do you think about the kids being in one daycare for 3 weeks and then another for 1 week? I am trying to get the kids with their mom more than just weekends because with me working and theXXXXX Friday is pretty much spent in the car and half of Sunday is the same, which doesn't really give them much time with their mother. Plus, being single with 2 toddlers is a huge undertaking and I think a little breather for me each month may help me be a better dad. Another option I have been thinking about is trying some 3 day weekends each month to give them a little more time with mom.


All I want to do is what is best for the kids and make sure they get through this with as little disturbance and as much love as possible.
Thanks, Ben

Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben,
Welcome back. you are correct two toddlers is a tough job for sure. I believe that consistency and routine is great for kids so keeping them in one place is ideal, but if that cannot be possible and it has to be a different routine then do what needs to be done and keep making sure they are okay during these transitions of going back and forth to each home and to two day cares. In my view this is not optimal but that is not to say it can't be done if you pay attention to how they are feeling and how they are letting you know they are feeling.
you may see more clinginess and less of a desire to make these switches from week to week. You may want to consider they they are with their Mom and you see them very other weekend and on holidays.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, things have changed now. The wife moved back after a couple days because of the separation from the kids. She has found a place to live locally and be less than10 minutes away. She will be moving out after the Thanksgiving holiday.


 


I am happy hat way the kids will have 1 daycare, much less time being shuttled around in the car, and we are easily able to see the kids on days other than our visitation days for dinners, parks, etc.

I have done some reading and found several articles saying that with kids like ours (3 and 4 1/2) that minimizing separation time from either parent is important. They mention the overnights be split up 2/3/2 or 4/3 or something else like that to minimize the time away. This is good because the kids never have more then a few nights away from either parent.

My wife wants to do custody by the week. One parents drops the kids off at Day care on Monday and the other picks them up and then has them until the following Monday morning. This is good because there is a little more stability for the kids.


 


I am mixed on these. On one side I don't like being away from them for a whole week and on the other side is having them changing houses every couple days good for the kids?


 


With her being so close now, it will be quite easy to get together for dinners once in a while or meet the other at a park or the beach, which help break up a 7 day stretch of not seeing the kids.

What is your take on 50/50 and what have you seen work and not work for younger kids. I am very happy she moved back so close and I want to make this work out in the best way for the kids, I just want to make sure that I am making a solid decision and not an emotional one.

Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ben,
i am thrilled to hear this news. I believe this is the best possible outcome for all involved. Negotiating the custody after a divorce is never perfect but you are both doing the best you can with the best interest of the kids first and foremost.

I believe that it is all in how you handle the transitions....Lots of love and support and knowing that until they get used to it can be difficult but that does not mean they won't get through it with the love and support from both of you.

I am okay with this arrangement. Handle it with care and grace and they will see you as a role model. Acknowledge any and all feelings and be willing to be flexible if things come up and they miss one of you and need some extra time.

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