I recently wrote Post-Divorce Parenting: Visitation vs Time-Sharing. In that post, I shared how in my state – Florida – the family law rules have changed recently and one of the significant changes is that the term visitation is no longer used; instead, it’s now time-sharing. The implications of this are huge, in my view. The Florida courts now promote the idea that kids have two homes in which they live – no longer living primarily with one parent and visiting the other every other weekend. The big winners in this ruling are the kids, as far as I’m concerned.
As I thought about this ruling, what came to mind was the fact that after divorce, when individuals are free to go on and live the rest of their lives, many parents make major decisions with the kids in mind. While others make those decisions with what’s best for them or their careers in mind. Yet others start new families and think more about that new family and less about the kids from their former relationship. So I thought that today I’d write about the relocating after a divorce when kids are involved.
Most couples, as they enter relationships, are on cloud nine, as the expression goes. They imagine a fairy-tale life of happiness. Then comes reality; when the honeymoon is over and life becomes life, it’s a big wake-up call for many. Still, they settle down and have kids and try to make the best of life, despite the fact that they’ve realized that the person who they married is not quite as perfect as the person that they dated.
Many couples make it through this phase and go on to live happily ever after. Sometimes they make it but only after going to counseling where they get professional help to straighten things out. But many couples do not make it – and that’s just the reality of the situation. Despite their best efforts, many of these relationships end in divorce.
I always say that when marriages and other relationships end, when there are no kids involved, no matter how bitter or nasty the process may get, when it’s over, it’s over and then the healing begins. There’s nothing further from the marriage to deal with. When there are kids, however, there is a lifetime connection that never goes away. As long as the parents and the children are alive, they all have to deal with each other, to some degree.
Then there are those who believe that, when the marriage has ended and they get on with their lives, they are free to pursue their goals and dreams without consideration to their former spouse. I’d like to address these individuals with this post. Please note that when I write about subject matters that may be a bit sensitive, as this one is, I’m not really saying what individuals should or shouldn’t do. My primary objective is to get others to see the potential impact on the children when these decisions are made.
So the question at hand is: Do you relocate after a divorce when kids are involved? My thought is that, it’s not a yes or no question. There are so many factors to consider.
One of the significant factors to consider when thinking about relocation is the age of the kids. For instance, if the kids are 2 or 3 years old, one’s thought process might be different than if the kids are 15 or 16. A young child who’s just growing and developing a bond with the parents might lose that bond if one parent moves away.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve been affected in any way by the relocation issue after a divorce. I know that for some of you, reading this post has touched you deep within as you consider your own life and the decisions that you’ve made or that others have made.
I always try to get parents to think of the kids first. In the ideal world, we get married and live happily ever after. But that utopia doesn’t exist for everyone. I just encourage you to think of the kids in the decisions you make. You can relocate and be as close as ever to your kids. Or the same move could cause you to lose the essential connection with them.
If your kids are in a different city today, for any reason, give them a special phone call to let them know you love them.