Chapter 60

What’s best for the kids?

Who’s to say what’s best for your kids? Nature intended that there be two decision makers. But when it comes to the courts, ultimately there may be only one. If the two creators cannot agree on what’s best for their kids, then inevitably someone must ultimately decide. It’s like a spaghetti western stand-off with a conspiracy theory, except while cowboy and cowgirl face off in the street, both end up shot by someone on a grassy knoll. Although there was a need for only two in the bed, in the event a pillow fight erupts, a third party may end up deciding what’s best for your kids, whether you agree or disagree.

Three is a crowd and if you’re off to court to have your case resolved, you can bet that although it’s a very private matter there will be a number of people along for the ride. Suddenly something so personal as the welfare of your children is going live. Is this what’s best for your kids? Sadly, it may well be. If Mum and Dad aren’t talking or are still fighting, then at least your children still have another option. Whether you carry most of the blame for the separation is not the issue. Getting a plan that produces parental continuity is what’s best for the kids………

Chapter 62

Oh me, oh my, oh our

Communication is the key ingredient in the cake of goodwill that you need to begin baking. Without conversation you will either be paying for your solicitor to write letters or left in the dark. As costly as they can become, your solicitor is there to try to establish a rapport with Jane’s representative, to begin peace talks and work towards a resolution. One tip to reducing the damage to your finances if you can’t converse with her directly is to write to Jane. But before you run for the ink and quill, you should think hard about the language you intend to use. Even if you feel you’re on the outside, and you may well be, try to be as inclusive as you can. (You may also want someone to check your spelling before popping it in the post.)

Communicating with Jane can take a number of forms, though smoke signals aren’t that good for the environment. There are more contemporary methods of ensuring she gets the message. But whether it’s a phone call, email, text, voicemail or tweet, you run the risk of wielding a double-edged sword. The upside of a message as opposed to a conversation is that you can convey what needs to be said to Jane without raising your voice. You can announce your arrival at handovers without having to knock on the door, and if you receive a poor response you will have a record. Even if it’s not what you want to read, keep them — don’t delete them. The downside to these digital communications is that Jane will also have a record of what you say. So to avoid the damaging and embarrassing, think before you tweet, and re-read your messages before sending them. Another flaw with these new technologies is you have no excuse for not picking up the phone or getting the message………..

Chapter 66

Deal or no deal

Without a doubt, the most important order you can issue from the battlefield is the ceasefire. This doesn’t mean you should drop your guard, but when a deal looks to be on the cards, it’s time to pay attention to what’s being said and written. Tell your hemotions and man-feelings there’s nothing to see; you don’t need a back-seat driver or distractions from the audience at this time. Don’t bother calling for the throne either, and get down off your high horse because righteous is not what you need to be. This window is not going to stay open for any great length of time. Using it to grandstand may see the opposition withdraw an offer, batten down the hatches and prepare for war.

Apart from all the work your solicitor has done to compile the best case for the care of your kids, the opportunity presenting itself should not be wasted. Hopefully, you have the requirements of golden rules 2 and 3 in place and have developed a clear proposition for Jane on how a parenting agreement may look and work. The worst thing you can do is diverge from this, or send your solicitor on a kamikaze mission with potentially explosive demands. Although you may have been on the outside, this is neither the time nor the place to presume that because your parental rights have been acknowledged you can act like a bull in a china shop. Quite the opposite, you actually need to tread very softly. The door may appear to be open, but really it’s only ajar. It’s best to allow your solicitor to work the negotiation rather than barging in on the conversation………..