When you see your kids only every other weekend and one evening a week, you want to make every moment that you spend together fun and exciting. Neither you nor your children want to spend your quality time together doing only homework or chores. These days, though, being a divorced parent is much more about taking a long-term view and less about proffering short-term treats to make you popular in your kid’s eyes.
The term Disney Dad was coined to describe non-custodial parents who filled every moment with their child with trips and treats before returning the child to their more mundane home life, leaving the custodial parent ― typically, the mother ― to go to parent meetings, doctor’s appointments and afterschool activities.
Trends in custody and visitation have evolved and shared responsibility and joint custody, or known here in Florida as "50/50 timesharing" is more common. Parents who can find the right balance between fun and responsibility will have a better relationship with their offspring in the long term.
Suggestion for staying "super"
- Stay away from court ― Seeing parents fighting has a negative impact on children and court proceedings, by their nature, are combative. Of course, some elements of your separation from your former spouse might require court involvement, but consider mediation and other forms of dispute resolution that are less confrontational.
- Don’t badmouth your ex ― Disparaging comments about your child’s other parent forces them to take sides. If you have nothing nice to say about your former spouse, it is best to say nothing and avoid making your kids uncomfortable.
- Avoid using kids to get you information ― Asking your children about “Mommy’s new boyfriend” or “Daddy’s new job” or information that they know might be sensitive makes kids uncomfortable. Try to achieve a situation where all information directly pertinent to your child’s wellbeing is properly communicated and your kids are not asked to report on other information that is personal to you or your ex.
- Share the burden ― Taking on your fair share of the day-to-day aspects of your children’s lives will not only provide more time for you to spend with your kids, but will also ensure that you are up-to-date with their progress at school, their medical needs, and their extracurricular activities.
Many of these tips are easier said than done. Talk to an experienced family lawyer who knows that a long term view of family separation can be more beneficial than short-term point-scoring. The Byrd Law Firm has been successfully and productively advising Florida families on divorce for more than 16 years.