The Single Parents' Guide
to Legal Help
Legal issues are not uncommon among couples that go separate ways, especially if there is a child involved. There are bound to be disagreements about child support, child visits, who gets to spend Christmas where, who pays for the tuition fees and the braces.
The scars of your divorce may leave you feeling territorial, with a strong need to protect your rights or in a state of despair thinking that no one is there to help you.
Let’s face it, hiring a lawyer is expensive… so unless you have unlimited funds, you have to be judicious about how many times you call on your lawyer.
However, you have to be strong enough to step up and protect both you and your child. Here are the lines that I draw in the sand…
Put the children first
If the argument doesn't hurt you or the child, then let it slide. This will take some calm assessment on your part. Are you arguing based on principle? Or spite?
When disagreements arise, look inside and ask yourself: should you really care? If your ex's decision does not affect you or your child negatively, then give.
Financial support might get delayed sometimes. This is no reason to start another “issue” with your ex. If there is a real and valid reason, then give a little time before you take the next step.
You, more than anybody else, can tell if your ex is being sincere or is trying to dodge responsibility. Do not be afraid to stand up for your needs, but keep your approach civil, if not amicable. You know what you are entitled to. Guard that right for you and your child.
If your ex or ex's family interferes with you during your child’s pick up or drop off, then perhaps you can arrange an alternate pick up location where they are no longer in a position to harass you. I had to ban my ex’s mother from my house because she was disrespectful to me in front of my daughter.
If the harassment continues, consult with your lawyer about the severity. If it crosses the line into Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), then you need to pursue legal action.
Harassment takes on many forms. Be informed.
The best way to come out ahead of your divorce is to stop being angry and focus on your future and your child's future. Little battles are bound to crop up. A good general's tactic would be to pick the battles that really count.
If you need help with a situation right now, consult a good lawyer.
If you just need to de-stress, get out of the house and take a walk with your kid. It will help remind you what is really important.