“There are advocacy groups out there and Web sites, but my experience is that it’s a little more case-by-case or judge-by-judge,” says Anthony Wolf, author of Why Did You Have to Get a Divorce? And When Can I Get a Hamster?
It’s difficult to predict how a court will rule in such cases because so many factors – money, careers, residency – come into play, says William Sammons, M.D., a pediatrician who has worked with many families of divorce. “We often have very different and difficult-to-comprehend rulings by judges.”
Parents who feel wronged need to balance their own wishes with those of their children, advises Wolf. “If it’s really getting in the way of getting together with the kids on a regular basis, you need to contact your lawyer again. But whether it’s really enough to work it out in the legal system is a decision every parent needs to make.” It’s incumbent on parents to work out all their issues during the divorce proceedings. “A parenting plan should be part of every divorce agreement,” says Sammons, who is working with fellow pediatrician Jennifer Lewis to produce a multimedia CD-ROM to help parents design such a strategy. They hope the disc will be available by spring of 2005. For more information, visit www.childrenanddivorce.com.
To learn more about divorce laws and visitation rights, visit www.divorce.com, for a state-by-state breakdown.
– Jim McGaw