Speak to dad about sharing custody of son

My child’s father and I just broke up. Our son is 3. I have a feeling that since our son is so young he should live with me. His father disagrees and wants to keep him for two or three days at a time. I find that outrageous and I’m scared of letting my son go with his father because he won’t bring him back when I want to. What is good ex-etiquette?

The law regards both parents as having equal rights. It is recognized that children regularly need both parents in their life to be safe and emotionally secure. Most parents are now given joint custody of their children after a separation, unless there is nothing against it in the past, and an upbringing plan is drawn up that allows the children as much time as possible with both parents.

Does that mean your child spends more time with you than with your father? I do not know. It varies from state to state, and other factors that we haven’t discussed are taken into account when deciding on custody.

Here’s what I can tell you – if you prevent your son from hanging out with his father just because you think it’s rude, it can backfire.

When you practice good ex-etiquette, all of your decisions will be made with your child first. This means you take yourself out of the equation and use your child’s best interests as a basis for decision-making. Thinking it’s outrageous is just your opinion, and judges don’t take it lightly when one parent interferes in their child’s time with the other parent.

When the going gets tough and a judge has to decide, the deciding factor as to which parent has sole custody often depends on which parent is most likely to facilitate spending time with the other parent. That doesn’t sound like you now.

At this point, it is best to sit down with dad and agree on when your son will be with you and when with his father. During this discussion, talk to Dad about how each of you takes care of your son when the other is not around. Create an environment where you can shake hands on your child’s behalf and they will thrive.

If you really want to know what good ex-etiquette is, then parents put their children first and do their best to help each other be the best parents they can be.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of Ex-Parent Etiquette: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation and the founder of Bonus Families,

– Tribune news service

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