I need some advice on what's best for a 2yr old child in regards to custody? HELP!

Ally - posted on 07/04/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Hi,
I've been married for 4 yrs and have a beautiful daughter (2). She is the light of my life as I'm sure you can relate. I am facing a separation and wondering what is the best custody arrangement for her. My husband and I have discussed many options, but I just want what's best for my daughter. I can't imagine her flipping back and forth every week between us is healthy! PLEASE I NEED ADVICE!

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Heather - posted on 07/05/2010

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Maybe before it goes through try something like the Love Dare or the 30 day husband encouragement challenge. Maybe watch the movie Fireproof? I'm praying for you!!!

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Ally - posted on 10/04/2010

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Just to update everyone; my marriage is back on track. God has really worked a miracle in our lives and we are a testimony to what love and forgiveness can do. I appreciate all the support and am thankful that we serve a God who is able to meet all our needs!

Polly - posted on 07/09/2010

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I agree with Heather (I usually do! :)) God hates divorce, but He gives us free will. We cannot force our spouses to do anything. God could force him, but He won't. If your husband chooses to leave despite you doing your best to work it out, then he is the one responsible for the demise of the marriage. Not you.

I am encouraged by reading the positive responses you have given. I think you are doing great. Just keep praying for your marriage to work, do everything you can do, and leave the rest to God. He will bless you for doing your best to follow His commands, even if your husband isn't.

As for whats best for your daughter, I think that is something you just have to work out with your husband. It depends on your life, your schedule, how far away you are going to live, etc. Divorce is hard, and God never meant it to be that way. But through His grace you will get through it, and so will your daughter.

I truly pray that your husband will have a change of heart and will work with you to rebuild your marriage. If your husband is unwilling, then I pray that you and your child will be comforted, and that God will give you wisdom in how to manage the situation for His glory.

Heather - posted on 07/08/2010

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Ally, as I said, my first marriage did not work. I tried and gave it my all, but my husband left me for another woman. I am in no way perfect, please do not think I am innocent, I am a sinner just like everyone else, and I know I made some mistakes. We all do. But if it is his choice than the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 7 that if the unbeliever wants to leave to let him do so. Those verses were somewhat freeing to me. I knew that I hadn't failed as a Christian, even though my marriage was over. The best that you can do now is continue living your life for God and remember that you are the Bride of Christ! Christ will never divorce you or leave you. Your daughter is young, she will come through this just fine. My two boys are not scared at all by past events. I don't even think they understand that things haven't always been as they are now... My oldest was 2 when we were divorced. They just think they are the most blessed children in the world because they have 3 sets of grandparents! :) (Their dad doesn't ever see them, but his parents love them and talk with them all the time).

Whatever God has in store for your life, I'm sure that you and your baby will be just fine. God has a way of providing for us in ways that we can never imagine!

Ally - posted on 07/08/2010

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Thanks everyone:) I have read all the post's and appreciate all the great feedback. This is probably one of the hardest times in my life and I needed some "outside" Godly counsel. I just need to respect my husbands decision. He knows my heart and that is to work through this but I can't change his mind. I now need to accept this and try and move on. Who know's what will happen in a year, maybe God will reconcile us. All I know is I serve a God who is able to meet at my needs. I feel like a failure as a Christian; because this is not supposed to happen to us! Although I know God loves and forgives me. My daughter is an angle sent from God and my job is to raise her to be a Godly women. I just hope this whole ordeal will not scare her for the rest of her life.

Rhonda - posted on 07/08/2010

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Oh, Sweetie, it sounds like you really love your daughter, good job!
Sometimes loving a child means sacrificing what you want for her best interest. I was in your shoes, once upon a time. I made the tough decision to stick it out and make my marriage work. I realized this was truly best for my kids. I am so glad I did.
You need to find some real support to get through this! Surround yourself with people who are pulling for you and your husband. Then, throw out the option of being apart. In the long run, it is best!

One more important thing, if you don't already have a relationship with God, seek Him out. If you do, immerse yourself in Scripture, and keep Christian radio on in your home and car. I'll pray for you!

Heather - posted on 07/07/2010

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I agree that advising someone to stay in an unhappy marriage is not advice given lightly. I for one, have been there. I have fought for my marriage. It's not easy, and in some cases (like mine) it seems pointless and does no good. But in the end you can walk away with a clean heart, knowing you did right by God. That alone makes it worth it!

Karen - posted on 07/07/2010

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Every parent has to choose based on the parents needs as well as the child. Put yourself in the child's shoes. If I were a little girl, I would want to sleep in the same bed every night and know what is going on and what to expect. It might be hard to adjust to any situation. Most Dad's work all day, and don't want to deal with a toddler all night. A Mom who worked all day ... can't wait to play with the baby in the evening. So I would imagine that the child would be better off living with Mom during the week. Then Dad can have her on weekends. It can be like a mini vacation on weekends. Some dads want thier weekends free for dating other women. Well, then he can have visitation with her on weekends or only have her every other weekend. Most dad's who fight for custody, are not fighting to be a full time dad, they are just fighting for custody so they wont have to pay child support. Then if they win, his mother will be watching the child, or a nanny or someone other than him. Fight with all your might to keep your baby with you... even if you get no support financially. As a christian, you can still love daddy and treat him with kindness, but if you dont know why he is leaving... you cant help him to stay. You need to stand up strong like a lady, and be a good mother to your child. Set a good example. It will be hard. Smile,and thank God.. and keep going.

Cheryl - posted on 07/07/2010

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I understand your logic and thought process Kellie but (and again, please don't take this harsh or meanly) but THAT is the mentality that leads to a higher divorce rate in the church than out: "You are only responsible for you, not your husband. If the horse is dead, dismount." That is the world's advice and too many in the church follow it without following God's already given instructions and giving God the time to work His miracles.

Yes, I don't pretend to live in her house or walk in her shoes but I CAN guarentee it will be tough and hard. If he leaves, so be it-let him know you are waiting for him to return and still intiate dates and such with him. If you totally leave him alone and ignore him and focus solely on yourself and daughter, he WILL find someone else to meet his needs.

I highly recommend a book called "Becoming the Woman of his Dreams", even if your marriage is great, it will give you lots to think about and challenge you to bring your marriage to a new level.... even if he doesn't reciprocate!!!! We can't change or force our husbands to anything. But what is your attitude telling him, what are your responses leading him to believe? What motivation are you giving him to change or stay? You are responsible for yourself and the commitment YOU made to your marriage. Marriage is not 50/50 and if he doesn't uphold his end of the deal, I'm not upholding mine. Marriage is 100%no matter his response or actions. Jesus is supposed to be the ideal picture for marriage- He is the bridegroom. Did He back off the cross becuase He knew millions of people would still reject Him?

Anyway, I hope this has not upset Ally even more, you have enough to deal with right now. Even if you can't find a councilor that you both like, see if he's willing to do a Bible study on marriage or love and just go through the concordance together reading the verses and talking. Or anything by the Parrotts are great videos (Les and Leslie)- see if your church library has some.

Kellie - posted on 07/07/2010

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Most of the mommies have given you their best biblical advice and encouraged you to stay with your husband but I have to say if the horse is dead dismount. You are only responsible for you, not your husband. If he is making no effort to resolve the issues than why should you feel obligated to entice him? Jesus once said that the Pharisees religious attitudes placed burdens upon people that were hard to bear and they themselves will not lift a finger to help them. (Matthew 23:3&4)

Advicing someone they need to stick their marriage out when the other person is unwilling is a burden she cannot and should not have to bear. And since none of us live in her house or share her pain of rejection each time she goes to him to resolve issues we cannot possibly bear the burden with her.

God may hate divorce but He loves you, so stay close to Him and know in your soul that God will never leave you nor foresake you and no matter how this marriage ends up Jesus sticks closer than a brother.

As for your question I am going to assume that your soon to be ex husband is a good father and therefore he should have as much access to her as possible. Because she is so very young she needs her father as much as she needs you. Because you are a Christian mommy you have an opportunity to do things excellently. During the custody hearing you might be asked about weekends, holidays and other yearly events so you will need to structure how those go. One year with you the other year with him. What are his days off work? Call him to babysit when you want to go out or get away for awhile. Ask him to pick her up from daycare or wherever she goes while you are working which will give him more time to spend with her.
She needs a primary place to stay and I agree that living with you one week and him another is absolutely not healthy. She needs consistency and stability so one of you will need to be the custodial parent.

Regardless of what happens between you and your husband it has nothing to do with your daughter and for better or worse because of her you two must get along. You will have to make certain sacrifices so that you do not interfere with their relationship and you may even have to give up a holiday or birthday now and then, but I believe she is your priority and you have a heart to do what is best for her.

If the marriage is salvagable by all means open your heart and work things out, but if he has closed himself off to you, then you are not responsible for changing his mind. I would however encourage you to keep reminding him that you are willing to work things out and if it is God's will to soften his heart than He will. If not, know that you are loved by the Father and He has a good plan for you and your daughter.

God's best to you!

Rebecca - posted on 07/06/2010

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I'm with Cheryl, and Fireproof and Love Dare are wonderful. Praying for you!

Cheryl - posted on 07/06/2010

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Is your husband initiating the divorce? If not, you shouldn't even if you think things are dead. A friend just went through a similar situation (over the last 4 years!!!) due to her husband's drinking. She separated from him but would not divorce him. Moved back for awhile, thought about leaving again when drinking got bad again. ALL the while they tried every councilor in the area and she PRAYED like no tomorrow. As of just the last several months, they have found a councilor they both respect, a new church he feels comfortable in, etc. Now, that probably wasn't ideal for the kids but in the long run, seeing their parents tough it out and work it through will impact them and their future marriages.

It's one of the things I appreciate and love about my husband. His parents went through a rough spot that many probably would've separated over but they worked through it. My husband even took a semester off of collage to come home and work to help pay bills and such. I so love his committment to our marriage. I know whatever I say or do, the D word isn't in his vocabulary (not that I would purposely say or do mean things ;-)

Please please please, just give it more time. Offer to arrange date nights to try to get reaquainted and maybe fall in love again. Write him a letter telling him the things that first attracted you to him and the things you appreciate now. Tell him the things you see your daughter enjoying with him- how she loves his piggy backrides or underdogs on the swings or whatever!!!

Cindy - posted on 07/05/2010

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Oh Please Please Please...fight for your marriage. I do not know the situation that you are in but a marriage is so worth fighting before. I could tell you all the things that my marriage has been through and it is alot and a few times we discussed seperation, divorce, and even at times didn't like each other much but we stuck it out and now in 2 months we will be celebrating 31 years of marriage and I can honestly say that I LOVE him so much. The biggest reason we never followed through with the seperation, divorce is because of our kids...we have 4....and I truly believe that they needed us both at home. So I encourage you to try "The Love Dare", watch "Fireproof" talk to your pastor/counselor and PRAY. God wants our marriages to survive and can heal so many things, actually ALL things.
My nephew and his wife just got a divorce and they have 2 kids, 5 and 2 and watching them going back and forth so that Daddy gets time with them is so hard to watch and the effect it has on them shows in their behavior and the parents do not fight over this but it is still affecting the kids. So Tread carefully and slowly.. Don't make any decisions hastely and Trust in God to Heal Your Marriage. You Might Be Surprised. I know I was.

Jill - posted on 07/05/2010

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there is no good situation....Pray that God will bring you and your husband back together,... a child needs 2 of their parents full time... God did not intend for us to divorce...God can work miracles .... pray for your marriage...He can heal it.... that is what is best for your daughter

Ally - posted on 07/05/2010

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I totally agree. I am willing to work things out with him because I believe God has a plan for our marriage, but he is closed! No matter how hard I try to communicate that I want to work it out, he shuts it down. We have tried Christian counseling, secular counseling but never stuck with it. There has been no abuse/cheating in our marriage; we have just grown apart in the last couple of years. I want to work through our issues but when one party is not willing and dead set on separation what am I to do? My heart goes out for my daughter and I can't come to terms with hurting her like this.

Cheryl - posted on 07/05/2010

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Every child and situation is different, there is no one study or research that will tell you the best thing for your daughter in a separartion situation... pray, pray, pray!!

This is a Christian Mommies group so I feel okay saying this, please don't think I am attacking or trying to make you feel bad.... but what is best for your daughter is for your marriage to stay firm and together. Have you tried counciling with your pastor and wife?? I don't know the situation and you don't need to feel obligated to go into details, but Christian magazines and forums like these are full of stories of couples who have survived any and all kinds of trials- including porn, infidelity and homosexuality!!!!!! Yes, it's hard. Yes, your needs will not be met for awhile. Yes, you will have to sacrifice some things. Yes, you may be looked at funny around town or even in church.

As a child of divorce, I encourage you to hold tight and not give up. Again, I meant no meanness towards you and hope you do not feel I'm being harsh. The divorce rate in the church is no different than outside (actually I think it may be one % higher!!!). While the Bible gives permission for divorce on the grounds of infidelity, I think too many give up on the marriages when things get rough or they feel they're not getting what they want out of a marriage. Again, i recommend solid, Christian counciling.... and it may take a few years... but I can almost guarentee that's what's best for your daughter unless abuse is an issue but then custody wouldn't even be up for debate.

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