There are a lot of custodial parents out there just begging their co-parents to take their kids more. There’s also a lot of non-custodial parents begging for more time with the kids. It seems like there should be an easy solution, right? Unfortunately, co-parenting paranoia can throw a wrench in the works.
It’s easy for a non-custodial parent to write off a co-parent’s fears as the result of greed, but by far, the parents we talked to were worried more about consistency. They were paranoid that the non-custodial parent would suffer a setback and withdraw from the child’s life after being more involved. That kind of back-and-forth involvement can do a doozy on a child’s emotional health, and who has to deal with it? The parents who are around more often.
You might have to jump through a few hoops to prove that you’re reliable. Things happen, but your time with your children has to remain a top priority if you plan to change a parenting time schedule. These kinds of fears can also lead to your co-parent overreacting if you’re late for pick-ups and drop-offs or suffer other emergencies.
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Consistency also plays into childrearing and discipline fears. It’s hard for parents to remember that weekend parenting time doesn’t come with the same opportunities and structure that comes with weekday parenting responsibilities. Doctors offices tend to be closed. The kids might not have homework over the weekend. At your house, the kids might not have the same chores.
This drives the fear that you’ll be seen as the ‘fun’ parent and kids will wind up loving you more. You can fight this by talking with your co-parent and arranging to take some of the parenting responsibilities off of their plates. Some doctors’ offices have Saturday hours, for instance, and instead of homework, you might supplement the kids’ education with online courses like Outschool or relevant field trips.
Child Support Reductions
Some custodial parents will fear that a request for more time will eventually lead to a reduction in child support. The key to tackling this issue might not feel fair, but given the way the world works, it is almost guaranteed to pay off in your favor.
You can request your co-parent give you more parenting time if you agree to maintain your current child support order. That one move can immediately change things and results in dads getting more custody time without the need for an expensive, disruptive custody battle in court.
Many non-custodial parents dream of having more time with their children, but they’re not sure how they can make it happen. Solutions can be easier than they appear. Before you tell yourself you can’t afford an expensive legal fight, try some of the methods above and ask your ex to voluntarily increase your parenting time.
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