Moment Of Clarity

Moment of Clarity: Child Custody Issues


We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

You can submit your own question via our contact form and don’t fret, we’ll keep your name and identity confidential.  Now, we have a question from a reader we’ll call “Determined Dad.”

QUESTION: I’m a DAD, not a father or a ‘Baby’s daddy’ – but a dad!  I pay child support, visit them as often as I can, buy them clothes, take them to the doctor, go to their games, pick them up from school … you name it I do it!  The problem is my ex-girlfriend won’t let me see my kids more than the court order states because I don’t want to get back together with her.  PLEASE help me figure out how I can spend more time with my children without being in a romantic relationship with their mother.  ~Signed, I AM a DAD!

Dear Determined Dad,

It is clear from your question that you know the difference between being a father and a dad.  Everyone has a mother and a father, but it’s an involved parent that becomes a mom or a dad.  When parents become involved in the life of their child they develop a relationship and bond with that child; this moves the relationship from the mother/father space to the ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ realm.

What is usually overlooked is once the bond between the parent and child has developed, the parent needs the child just as much as the child needs the parent.

While you may be saying “let me see my kids” it sounds like you really want to maintain your relationship with them and you’re afraid that you may lose that if you are less involved.  If your ex is unwilling to allow you to spend time with them because she is bitter, you have to think about the best way to approach the situation keeping in mind the best interest of your children.

In your situation, you and the mother may need to put things in writing to keep emotions from getting in the way. While some people would suggest immediately hiring an attorney specializing in family law, I suggest trying to work out visitation between the both of you using a mediator, if possible. A mediator can help sort through some of the hurt and bitterness, is cost effective, and can prepare your agreement to be entered in court.

Having gone through an ugly divorce myself, the only winners in the courtroom are the attorneys. With that said, if the other party is unwilling to work with you, then you should consider consulting with, then hiring, an attorney to motion to have your  visitation schedule modified, if possible.

If it is not possible to have your visitation modified, consider talking with a therapist to help you cope with the reality and discover ways to make the most out of the time you spend with your children.

Here are some useful links regarding mediation and child custody issues and visitation:

Custody X ChangeAvvo; 10 Reasons to Use Child Custody Mediation

During this process it’s important to be thoughtful, patient, focused, and supported by friends or when it comes to sorting out complicated matters.  We saw an example of  how things can go bad quickly if one feels overwhelmed and hopeless last week when a distraught father allegedly committed police assisted suicide because the mother wanted full custody.  That need not be the case for anyone.  It may seem bleak, but the bleakness never really lasts; and suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

If you stay persistent, focused, calm, and respectful, things will work out better than you could have planned … they always do.

Pleasant Journeys …


Do you have a question for Jinnie? Submit it to us via the contact us form. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!