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home : columns : dear harriette March 1, 2021

12/9/2020 7:55:00 AM
Divorcing dad must plan carefully

DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I are getting a divorce. It scares me to know that after years of marriage we have to part ways. We have kids, and that makes our situation more difficult. I know typically the mom gets custody of the kids, and I will only get to see them on the weekends. I'm afraid that unless a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, I will not get to see them then, either.

I know these things can be sorted out with a lawyer, but I know my ex-wife will have reasons to make this case swing in her favor, and they will be hitting below the belt. I just want the best chance to see my kids just as much as her without a lengthy and brutal custody war. How can I make sure my ex-wife plays fair and won't selfishly try to take my kids away from me? -- Fighting for My Kids

DEAR FIGHTING FOR MY KIDS: Typically, divorces are difficult, and emotions run high. If you have the ability to stay calm during this process, everyone will benefit. Start by apologizing for whatever your role has been in the demise of your marriage. Usually both partners have done things that led to the breakup. Own up to your part and apologize for hurting her and the family in any way. Tell your soon-to-be-ex that you want to co-parent with her. This is important to you, and you want to work out the details directly with her, if at all possible.

Think about an arrangement that could work for you both based on your schedules and bandwidth. Step up and show her that you are serious about caring for your children. The more you show maturity and long-term thinking, the better the chance you have of working out an amicable agreement with her directly.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently watched a stand-up act of one of my favorite comedians. Comedians' families typically take the worst hits from their jokes that people love to hear. But this joke didn't make me laugh the same way as the others. This comedian called his young daughter a "ho."

Following this comedian and seeing and hearing about his family often, it made me uncomfortable to hear. It offended me and caught me off guard. I mean, the whole bit was funny, but it just made me wonder why and how could he even say that about her, regardless of his career. I feel like the joke hurt his reputation and said more about his morals than it added to his career and success. What are your thoughts on comedians making uncomfortable comments for a living? Do you believe there is a significant impact in their personal lives? -- Bad Joker

DEAR BAD JOKER: I do not like jokes about family members that are disparaging. While they can be hysterical, they often hurt the victim's psyche. I also think that minors should be off limits, and young adults should be too.

How you can make your voice heard on this point is to write to the comedian and express your views. Ask for him to stop. Tell him how much you like his comedy and point out where you think he should draw the line. You never know: Your voice may be heard.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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