Thursday, December 08, 2005

Counseling not confidential

I just got out of co-parenting counseling with my ex-wife. I hadn't discussed what happened in these sessions before, because we signed a confidentiality agreement not to use any of it in any adversarial proceeding.

It is not confidential anymore. Today, my ex-wife filed a complaint with the Court about something I supposedly said in last week's session. She claimed that I rejected the following proposal:
From what the children tell me, you have bought them each 4 outfits to wear while they are at your home. This was so encouraging to hear, that I am proposing a new schedule that could begin in January. This is Dr. Johnson's recommendation for the parenting plan, option B. I've written it over below:

Once Father has satisfied the requirements herein, with Court review or stipulation otherwise, he shall be responsible for the children on Wednesdays after school until 7 PM on the second and fourth weeks and, every first, third and fifth Thursday after school (or 4 PM) through Monday return to school (or 9am), including three day school holidays that fall on his weekend through 4 PM Mondays.

There are a few stipulations though:

1. Father is to return clothing that children are wearing on Thursday, by packing them in a bag and giving them to the children to take to school on Monday. Alternatively, the children can wear the clothes to school on Monday, as long as Father has washed them ahead of time.

2. Father is responsible for transportation.

3. Father is to have the children eat breakfast before school.

4. Father is to provide a healthy lunch and snack for the children on Friday and Monday.

5. Father is to help the children complete Thursday's and any other uncompleted homework of the week. He is to check it over, and have the children correct the errors. He is to make sure that the children return the homework on Friday, along with all the required signatures.

6. Father is to make sure the children are at school by 8:25 p.m. on Friday and Monday morning.

7. Father is to make sure that the children are well groomed for school (clean clothes), and are suitably dressed (warm clothes for cold weather).

8. This agreement is subject to Father's good faith efforts in following the conditions.
I didn't really turn down the proposal. I asked for a minor change in her schedule for last week. She said that she could, but that she wouldn't because she wanted me to learn to accept schedules dictated by her. It is her way or the highway.

School starts at 8:30 am. I am sure she meant 8:25 am and not pm. I don't know why she said 8:25, except that she used to have a problem getting the kids to school on time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know many children of divorced/separated house-holds. The going back and forth between two homes is VERY hard on them. It seems that most parents make shared custody arrangements for selfish reasons around what THEY want and not what is in the best interest of the children. The proposed schedule by your wife is crazy making for all involved. The children need to feel safe and on a non-crazy-making schedule - not to worry which clothes they are wearing when and where they must leave them at all times. I agree that it is a good idea to help purchase clothes and special items for the kids. But that is it. Once the clothes are given to the girls, they are theirs to take to whichever house whenever - just as long as there are clothes at both houses. Espcially with girls, clothes are important, and they should feel safe to wear what they want when they want and not worry if these are daddy's house clothes or mommy's house clothes etc. This schedule is doomed to fail. Your wife has dangerous control issues that to you may be annoying, but to your daughters have real good chance of causing them undo stress that may mentally scar them for life. The best shared parenting scedules that I have seen are ones that allow the kids to stay in one house for equally divided periods of time - such as one week on, one week off. It is easier for school projects and maintaining friendships to have the stability of one room, one house, one phone etc for an entire week, or more, than this one day to one parent's house and then 2 days, and then one day etc. This type of schedule would drive either you or your wife nutty - not to have continuous access to your closet, your things, your office, your books, your papers, your computer etc. Now imagine trying to complete school work in this fractured environment - so unfair to the kids.

The well-being of the kids, physically, emotionally, and mentally, must be a priority to the parents. Parents need to let go of their bitter control struggles with each other, and put the kids needs first. Your wife's proposed schedule as it is written on your blog indicates a selfish, bitter woman more interested in causing you pain than doing what is best for her daughters - so sad. (and so common) Kids do not like to go back and forth between parents; but they do need to have each parent active in their lives. It is challanging to make it all fit - but the children's needs must come first. At the very least, do not be punishingly picky about where the clothes go!!!!!!