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And Then There’s Graduation

This article focuses on the long-term considerations of your relationship with your ex when you have a child together. Parents who are not together tend to get wrapped up in the day-to-day disputes they have with each other. They argue about transportation, bedtimes, whether the new boyfriend or girlfriend is there when you are exchanging the kids and whether Susie didn’t have the shoes you just bought her when you picked her up from her mom’s house. These things are very annoying but if you are not careful, they can cause you to miss seeing the forest for the trees. We all focus on the trees, the here and now. But step back every now and then to consider the big picture of the forest, the long-term circumstances you may be creating by litigating or arguing over whether visitation should start at 5:30 on a Friday night, or 6:00 on a Friday night.

When I was preparing for graduation from law school, I remember asking a friend of mine why she wasn’t going to march in the graduation ceremony. After all, it does cap off 12 years of education through high school, another 4 years as an undergraduate and another 3 years in law school. She told me that at her last graduation, her divorced parents got into a fist-fight. Yes, I said a fist-fight. Seriously. One of her parents might have been right, and one might have been wrong. I’ll guarantee you she didn’t care which parent it was. They both acted like idiots ruining one of the happiest days of her life. So she decided to skip another event that should have also been one of the happiest days of her life. Consider not only your kids, but your relationship with the other co-parent. Try your best to make it (or keep it) cordial. It will save all of you many years of drama. 

If you and the other co-parent ruin things for your child now, don’t be surprised if your child avoids both of you when he or she can manage to get away. . . fleeing as soon as graduation ends. Sadly, I see plenty of custody cases that never truly end until the child reaches the age of 18. And then there’s graduation. You are stuck with each other as coparents. Don’t forget you may be stuck with each other for a few decades after graduation if you are co-grandparents. 

Amy A. Edwards is a family law attorney in Greenville, NC, certified by the NC State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a Family Law Specialist, and is licensed only in NC. www.AmyEdwardsFamilyLaw.com  © 2017.   

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