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Parenting Plan for Divorcing Dad during Internship and Residency Years

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by CaliCoolie, May 21, 2014.

  1. CaliCoolie


    May 21, 2014
    I'm in the midst of a divorce and wondering if there are other divorced residents or interns out there with kids who would be willing to offer guidance on how to create a visitation schedule or parenting plan given the ever-changing nature of residents' schedules. Any insight or guidance would be most appreciated. What is reasonable to ask of my kids' mom and to commit to?
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  3. BlondeDocteur

    BlondeDocteur 10+ Year Member

    I'm not divorced.

    But I think this depends greatly on your field, the age of your children (school? breastfeeding? etc) and if you're going to be geographically close to your ex.

    Assuming you're close and in a moderate-hours specialty, I would push for at minimum the every-other-weekend schedule. If you're going to be on call or rounding on the weekend, hire a nanny or (if possible) have family look after them, but preserve your rights and your time with your kids. If you're on a Saturday-overnight-into-Sunday black weekend, you can try to arrange with your ex-spouse trading it off for your golden. Hopefully you have a decently cordial, working relationship with her and she would accommodate that.
  4. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing Physician 10+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Not divorced and not a parent, but as someone who has gone through residency I think it will be important to sort out in advance what the plan will be when you are on call for your designated time with the kid and perhaps try to work it out so that the arrangement is more flexible (often times the schedule for the next month will only be available towards the end of the month, you could try to always request certain weekends or days off, but will be program dependent whether this is a viable option). A couple of days notice is probably not reasonable to expect, but a month notice to arrange some days with the kids might be (depending on her work schedule and what other childcare plans are going to be put in place). Good luck.
  5. CaliCoolie


    May 21, 2014
    Thanks for your replies. Appreciate the support and insight. If there are others out there with a parenting place I could review, I would also appreciate that greatly. Thanks again.
  6. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2009
  7. medwidget

    medwidget 2+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2011
    Starting internship this year as a divorced mom to one school-age child. I will be about an hour away. We are doing a basic every other weekend plan as our official court-reported plan. Since we have a very cordial relationship, we are planning on being flexible. Throughout my clerkships, we have kept an excel document/calendar that lists my availability for weekends, holidays, etc., and I am fortunate enough that he works with that. The plan for now is that I will post my schedule as it is available, and he will plan things around that. If he has something important coming up, I will request that weekend off/use vacation time/pay for a babysitter. It has worked throughout my clerkships, and I hope it will continue to work throughout residency.

    My heart goes out to you. This is incredibly hard.
    DermViser likes this.
  8. Kahreek

    Kahreek 2+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    unfortunetelty in this case you are a bit ****ed. Because equality doesnt work here, your ex and the court will find natural that you will have to work and pay, but having any word or time in your kids life is secondary.
    Add medical training to that.
    You will have a rough time, high chance your kid(s) will miss you and get resentful. You will have hard time avoiding to spoil them to compensate for the lack of time.
  9. BlondeDocteur

    BlondeDocteur 10+ Year Member

    Wow, that has to be the singularly most helpful post in the history of this site. What an incisive analysis with novel, practical solutions offered to a very real problem.
  10. Kahreek

    Kahreek 2+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    i offer no solution, because each individual has different expectations.
  11. schmitta1573

    schmitta1573 Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2012
  12. HooahDOc

    HooahDOc Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    So I actually went through a divorce a year ago. My ex-wife and children are currently living about 5000 miles away. Our arrangement is joint legal custody and she has physical custody (she's the, "custodial parent") In retrospect, this may not have been a great idea, but I was so ready to be done with her I didn't think it through. My advice is get a lawyer and find out what you can do. Even if your schedule is something ridiculous like one day a year, do whatever it takes to retain joint physical custody.

    Having said that, I'm not sure if the divorce itself is good or bad for you. People always would say, "I'm sorry to hear that" when they found out, which really annoyed me. Put the kids first, do whatever you can to maintain some type of relationship/connection, and do your best to keep the ex in check. She will likely stay on the ball as far as your earning potential and child support, so expect to return to court any time you advance in some way. Don't try to, "be nice". Do what you need to do. Good luck.
    drcrispmd likes this.
  13. styphon

    styphon Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2001
    New york
    I got divorced during my 2nd year of residency. The courts are really focused on the parents deciding the amount of time with each parent by themself - to the point that if you can't do it civilly - they will appoint you a mediator.

    We split my kid 50/50 - it worked well as we lived 10 minutes apart, the daycare opened at 6am, and closed at 6:30pm.

    Now that I am an attending - I have moved 40 minutes away - I get him every weekend, and also 1/2 the days he has off for vacation.
  14. rokshana

    rokshana Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    uh….you offered, maybe …NUTHIN'?
  15. Kahreek

    Kahreek 2+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    is someone mad :D
    I offered a cautionary tale.
  16. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Chief Administrator Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    No you didn't. First here and now in the surgery forum: all you're doing is trolling.

    Please review the terms of service which clearly state that being argumentative and or not offering valid assistance is terms for removal from our site.
  17. Kahreek

    Kahreek 2+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2013
    That is intimidation.
    I offered a bitter parody, often times real, about this issue.
  18. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Chief Administrator Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Stating that you are in violation of the TOS is not intimidation.

    You did not offer a "bitter parody"; you offered an unhelpful cruel response to the OP who was looking for some real help.
    Shikima likes this.
  19. gutonc

    gutonc No Meat, No Treat Administrator Physician PhD 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    A fibrotic stroma
    To get back to the issue at hand, I think the biggest issue you're going to have (assuming you at least have a cordial relationship with your soon to be Ex) will be finding a family law judge/attorney/mediator who understands the unique issues associated with being a resident (decent but not great salary, crappy hours, total lack of control over your schedule) and how that all will change in 3-7 years. A custody/visitation/support plan put together in light of your availability during (for example) an IM residency, will be completely ridiculous in 3 years when you're a hospitalist with 2 weeks off each month.

    Obviously, custody can be re-addressed at a later time but that's just more money to lawyers and in court fees. Better to get it all done in one fell swoop if you can.

    I think if you can find somebody (preferably your lawyer) who understands that, and have a decent relationship with your baby momma, things will be better. Not good necessarily, but better.
  20. SweetD2014

    SweetD2014 2+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2012
    The answer is entirely dependent on your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex. I'll caution you that even if you believe that she is a reasonable person, this could all go out the window if she is advised by an "aggressive" lawyer that the more physical custody she retains of your child, the more money she'll be entitled to (this is often exactly how things work out). If she's determined to use her child as a weapon, doesn't matter how excellent a father you are, or if you have an impeccable record with excellent references and people to write statements on your behalf. I hate to sound cynical, but it can get that way. Do whatever you have to do to retain a good lawyer, and also do whatever you can to maintain a decent relationship with your ex. For men, your ex has the potential to destroy you (and unfortunately, the life of your child) if she has a mind to do so and a lawyer who works that way. (I'm not recommending that you go on the offense here - I hope that the mother of your child is a good and decent person, but why would you be divorcing her if she was? - but absolutely be prepared to mount a strong defense for the sake of your kid.) I hope that your situation is not so unhappy, and that you both are able to work out a decent parenting plan for the sake of your child (and your sanity). Divorce is hard, and contentious custody arrangements can make it nearly impossible. If things go south, remember that the one battle you absolutely can fight and win is that for your own well-being; if it gets to that, rather than endless rounds of fighting in courts that will leave everyone penniless, focus on your own sanity and happiness so that you can be a good father to your child throughout her life, not only her early years. Don't let guilt consume you. Good luck, and I hope that your situation is a good one that will render you both able to be excellent co-parents. The key is flexibility - the courts may say one thing, but if you and the ex have a good relationship, you should be able to work out a schedule where you can see your child as much as possible, working with EOW and 1/2 of vacation time as a baseline.

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