DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I are getting a divorce. It scares me to know that after years of marriage we have to part ways. We have kids, and that makes our situation more difficult. I know typically the mom gets custody of the kids, and I will only get to see them on the weekends. I’m afraid that unless a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, I will not get to see them then, either.
I know these things can be sorted out with a lawyer, but I know my ex-wife will have reasons to make this case swing in her favor, and they will be hitting below the belt. I just want the best chance to see my kids just as much as her without a lengthy and brutal custody war. How can I make sure my ex-wife plays fair and won’t selfishly try to take my kids away from me? -- Fighting for My Kids
DEAR FIGHTING FOR MY KIDS: Typically, divorces are difficult, and emotions run high. If you have the ability to stay calm during this process, everyone will benefit. Start by apologizing for whatever your role has been in the demise of your marriage. Usually both partners have done things that led to the breakup. Own up to your part and apologize for hurting her and the family in any way. Tell your soon-to-be-ex that you want to co-parent with her. This is important to you, and you want to work out the details directly with her, if at all possible.
Think about an arrangement that could work for you both based on your schedules and bandwidth. Step up and show her that you are serious about caring for your children. The more you show maturity and long-term thinking, the better the chance you have of working out an amicable agreement with her directly.