Often, relationships that were once based in love deteriorate to the point of hatred. However, good parents remember that their Ex is still the Mom/Dad to their children. If the other parent did not have at least some good qualities, it is likely that you would have never had a serious relationship with that person in the first place. So long as the other parent is not abusive, on drugs or otherwise dangerous to the children, a relationship with the children is an important part of their development. Try not to let your personal feelings get in the way. I have seen many a terrible husband who was a great father. Relationships (or lack thereof) between parents and children are extremely important to the development and well-being of those children. BOTH PARENTS MATTER.
Remember that your child's welfare is the MOST IMPORTANT Consideration
Furthermore, don't disparage or insult the other parent in the presence of your children. Divorce and custody battles put children in an unfair and akward position. They should not be asked to choose or take sides. You should not fight or argue in front of the children. These types of behaviors can be psychologically damaging and serve to create more problems. In addition, the judge will generally order the parties not to engage in this type of conduct.
Encourage a Relationship with the Other Parent
Children are not bargaining chips. Custody decisions should not be based on child support amounts or a need for revenge. The best parents put aside their differences and realize that kids need two parents. If a child wants to contact the other parent, that request should be reasonably granted. It is a big mistake to make the poor decisions of adults the problem of innocent children. A stable two parent upbringing (even though ideally everyone would live under the same roof) is essential to raising a well adjusted child. Remember, you will likely be interacting with your Ex for years to come (ie. at least until your child reaches the age of majority).
Don't get Bogged Down in Minutia
In other words, don't fixate on every little flaw that your Ex has. You may think you are the exception, and that your Ex is actually the worst person ever. However, this is rarely the case. The judge will not likely be impressed by your complaint that your Ex is a slob, or that your child didn't take a bath the last time he spent the night with your Ex. Such minor parenting matters mean little in court. If you have serious and significant concerns, by all means bring these up. However, realize that the presumption is that children are best served by having an active relationship with both parents...and rightfully so.
By keeping your focus and remembering these general principles, you serve the best interests of yourself and your children. Your custody battle may transform into custody management. You will spend less on litigation and leave your relationship with your Ex relatively intact. This will come in handy later as you both continue to be involved in the parenting of your children.
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