For many people, a typical visitation weekend consists of meeting in a public place. If the parents go to each other’s home at all, they sit in their cars and honk their horns, rather than go to the door and announce their arrival.
Where should you meet for visitation? McDonalds may be the right answer. After all, you may need witnesses if your ex thinks he’s Spiderman, and has a right to pass judgment on and subdue his enemies physically.
If he has that delusion, his ability to be alone with your kids should be questioned as well.
However, if he is just noisy and opinionated, you should meet at your homes. Both of you should accept the fact that the judge has entered an order, and that you are both legally bound to abide by it.
It doesn’t much matter if you think the judge should be selling shoes for a living, or that her retirement from the bench would be reason to celebrate. The fact is, you and your ex asked her to make the decision, and whether you are happy with what she decided, you are stuck with the order, until or unless it is changed in the future.
If you don’t do what the judge ordered, you could end up paying your ex’s attorney’s fees, paying a fine, or even spending a delightful month or so in the county lock up. There are advantages to the whole family if visitation pickups and drop offs can be handled without drama.
The best thing you can do is be cooperative. Your kids are supposed to be in your ex’s care for certain times, whether you like it or not.
Your kids have a right to see both of you, and not to feel scared when they’re doing it. This is why you and your ex should do anything you can to make visitation a natural, pleasurable, or at least non-toxic occurrence.
Try to make drop offs and pick up at your respective homes. Even if your contact is brief, your kids will feel more secure if they don’t have reason to think that you are leaving them with Jack the Ripper for a weekend’s fun and games.
Escort them to the door. Sitting out in your car and honking your arrival is rude. It teaches your kids that you don’t respect their other parent, and that you are only tolerating his presence in their lives because you have to do so.
It may be true that you’d rather jump from a plane without a parachute then give their other parent the time of day, but your kids have to go, so keep your druthers to yourself for their sake.
Say something pleasant to whomever answers the door. Swallow that wad of spit you were saving for the occasion.
You may not genuinely wish your ex or his new squeeze a good day, but say so anyway. God will forgive you the lie, and your kids will feel that you approve of their visit, whether you do or not.
Your kids don’t need to know all your secrets, do they? After all, none of you has a choice, so you may as well let your kids make the best of it. Even better, you should feel better if your kids are confident that you agree they are where they need to be for the weekend.