A return to family court…. Is it worth it?
Co-parenting has an enormous amount of challenges for the parents involved. It often takes great effort to ensure that each parent is daily focused on how to put the children first. This can be extremely difficult because the relationship between the two parents is often missing trust and respect. Even when you are at a phase where some co-parenting exists, there might be a reason why one party or another feels it is best to return to court for a modification.
This scenario is one of the most overwhelming moments for a parent that truly does not want to return to a state of constant consternation with the other parent. Many times, after a divorce, it takes a bit of time to recover from the destruction of a marriage. Court and divorce can be such a traumatic event so when one hears that it might be time to return to court, those traumatic emotions can come rushing back. It can be such an overwhelming feeling that often a parent might avoid it at the cost of what could be best for their children.
Unfortunately, there is no magic litmus test to say when that time has come but here are some helpful self-discovery questions to ask oneself if faced upon this contemplative circumstance.
- What is my main goal? What is truly not working in this scenario? Sometimes changing a custody agreement is unavoidable. The children are at a stage that the original agreement is now not working for their emotional health. Sometimes it can also be that a minor change really might not have an overall better effect for the children. Weighing both options is important to consider.
- Will this change in the end make me be able to show up better as a parent? This is really what parenting is about. Trying to be as present as you can when you have your children. Being your best self in whatever scenario that means for you.
- Will this change help my children thrive emotionally, socially or academically? List this out. How do you see this playing out?
There are a myriad of scenarios to consider when wanting to make a modification and return to court. The feeling of dread and fear is absolutely normal. If you do return to court, trying to focus on the issues for modification and not returning to previous trauma from the original divorce will help. Also, having a family therapist or coach can also be very helpful at these beginning stages. Often through processing the information out loud in a safe space, one can reach the answers needed before making such a big decision.
For more information visit, The Red Bow Project
The Red Bow Project,
*Amber Bradshaw Wooten is a practicing blended family life coach and has a PhD in Educational Psychology.