A friend of mine told me she’s going through a hostile custody battle. Actually, she e-mailed this to a group of friends and family in a veryyyy long email.
Given my experiences of having gone through a lengthy custody battle, the quick reply I sent her was, “Go on-line and find a support group. Look for a forum so you can ask questions and get answers from others who have experienced what you may soon face.”
On the NEGATIVE side…
Divorce and custody battles/resolutions/terminations/lawsuits …whatever you want to call it… can be one of the scariest experiences people face. It can lead to depression. Anger. It can be the lowest point in your life.
And just we you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they probably do.
On the POSITIVE side…
You are not alone. Whether you are divorcing and have kids, or have never married and have kids, there are a whole lot of people who have probably gone through what you are going to go through.
So what this means is… you have already a support network. Hurrah!
BUT, it may not be the people who are in your immediate circle or those who you already lean on for support.
Why? Because everyone experiences different things on their legal journey. Your current close friends may start to resent your communications. Perhaps they think you are whining. Others may give you advice like, “Just get over this, already. I did.” (Whether or not that is true is a different story.)
My point is, you are not limited to the physical people around you or your current on-line friends. You are entering a new world, and therefore you can develop/join/create a new circle of supporters.
Google “divorce forums”, “custody support groups”, “single mom forums”, “single dad forums”, etc. Whatever you are looking for, there probably is a forum for it. Forums are sites where similarly-situated people can connect online.
There are various ways to learn things on forums. You can post a question and receive responses. Or, you can simply read other people’s postings.
Sometimes you can message or e-mail other forum members directly. Sometimes forum members use their real names. Often times they are nonsensical names. It really does not matter. What you are looking for is the relevant content. You are looking for answers.
Forums connect people in other serious situations too. Medical patient-to-medical patient forums tend to pick up where the doctor left off and have spawned a movement to let patients help! Caregiver forums provide support for those who support others. Technical forums from people using a product often replace company service manuals. The hard part is finding the forum that works for you.
If you do not know how to use forums, ask someone for help. Have someone sitting next to you who can walk you through a forum site is extremely helpful if you’ve never experienced these sites before.
Try to find an active forum. How often do people respond to posts? What is the overall tone of the posts and replies? These can range from positive-focused through venting-type outlets. What, exactly are you looking for? Chances are, you’ll find it in an online forum!
The beauty of forums is that you can connect to people who will support you when you need it the most. And now is the time to reach out because, ultimately, divorce and custody battles involve you AND your children. You don’t have the option of NOT involving them.
Re-stated without the double negatives = your children are involved in this matter, too.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world.
Being a parent who is undergoing family law battles is… well… it’s something you now have to do.
So find your new support network by using an online forum to help you through these times.