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Divorced? Have a 100% relationship with your kids
by Gary Direnfeld

 

Post separation, even if you achieve 50/50 residential time-sharing, will you have a 100% meaningful relationship with your child?

Some parents believe joint custody is about sharing the kids 50/50 and they fight strenuously to achieve this. Trouble is, kids can’t be cut in half. Wise old King Solomon knew that back in 950 B.C.

As the story goes, two women came to Solomon, each claiming to be the mother of a baby boy. They sought his direction on who should continue to parent the child.

They both argued their case strenuously. Finally, Solomon arrived at a solution. He ordered that the child be cut in two.

With his order in hand, one of the two women stepped forward and relinquished her claim to the child. She understood that to cut the child in two would result in his death. Upon hearing her change of position, Solomon recognized her as the true mother and awarded her the child.

Many separated parents fight believing that only a rigid 50/50 residential sharing of the child is fair and will provide for their ongoing relationship.

As the parents fight over the issue of time, the concept of meaningfulness is lost. From the child’s perspective, what is meaningful is not equal distribution of time.

Rather, important to the child is the nature, quality and purpose of time together with family members. You can win 50/50 residence, but never succeed in a meaningful relationship with your child. You can win the battle, yet lose the war.

In the end, parents may well be advised to worry less about 50/50 time-sharing and more about meaningfulness - the nature, quality and purpose of time together with their kids.

It is this meaningfulness that the child will use to determine their lifelong relationship to each parent as time goes on.

Meaningfulness to the child is determined by how well each parent protects them from parental conflict and how each parent participates in matters of concern to the child (as opposed to the parent).

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