From a StepMom & Bio Dad’s perspective
Going to court for child custody is NOT an easy topic. Quite frankly, we don’t think anyone WANTS to go there. It usually comes, from our experience personally and with our clients, out of necessity. It takes a lot of time, finances and emotional energy to achieve child custody. However, as much stress & turmoil it may put you & your children through temporarily, we’d encourage you to look at the long term gain.
Let’s paint another picture:
Imagine you knew your step daughter would be with her mom for 3 days. Even though the last time it was 4 days, this week, it’s only 3. You and your husband make some plans to go away for a romantic weekend. You’re there, things are going good, and then, out of nowhere , after only being with her mom for a few hours, you are demanded to come back and take care of her. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Or the second.
Or, say, you’re a planner. And you want to plan a nice outing as a family, including your stepkids, but you’re continually waiting on their bio mom or dad to give you their schedule. And sometimes, it comes the night before.
That TOO is stressful, right?
(Or, maybe the problem isn’t the ex, but something else altogether – check out our other blogpost on that here: )
Cheyanne, as a stepmom herself, would say a LEGAL document is vital. It is necessary. For the stability of your stepchild, AND your family.
Now, we would be the first to say that doesn’t mean you have to go before a judge and have your lawyers dig up dirt from both your lives and try to convince the judge which one of you is a better or more “worthy” parent. Although, sometimes, it DOES come down to that, there are OTHER legal options that wouldn’t require that situation.
You & your co-parent could instead decide to meet with a court-appointed mediator.
This would be someone that would help you both get on the same page and come to an agreement that you both would sign. Yes, this WOULD be legally binding. Ideally, this is the least hostile option and the most inexpensive.
However, we know that in some co-parenting relationships, this is just quite simply – impossible. You & your co-parent are always arguing and can never agree on anything. This is where a court situation would benefit you both -so, in the future, there is less bickering, less manipulating and straight-forward document that you and both your families can depend on.
(If you’re struggling with getting the exes influence out of your home, take back control by downloading our FREE guide here:
As a bio dad, this is what drove Kim to setting up a legal custody situation for his daughter for the first time ever. She was almost 13 when it all happened. For the first 10 years of her life, he and her mom made it work. It was just the two of them (two single parents and their daughter). Now, as a married man with a toddler, the instability of a regular schedule was affecting his family and their peace in their home. He want to bring a schedule that would be predictable for his daughter, and also his wife and new baby boy.
Wherever you find yourself in your co-parenting journey, don’t judge your situation.
Don’t feel bad for wherever you are at. Own it and see what you can do about it. You, your children and your family are worth it.
*If during the process of establishing custody and working on your co-parenting relationship, you notice the need for boundaries to be set in place, we have an awesome interview for you to check out. We recently interviewed, Katie Davie, a single mom & co-parenting expert, who shares her insights on co-parenting, establishing boundaries and keeping them for good. Check it out below!
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-Kim & Cheyanne