Court and custody, what a challenging experience for any blended family. It is one of the heaviest things we can walk through. To share custody and decisions with someone who often disagrees with you and is difficult to get along with and to have to do this during and after a custody battle is humbling.
I am the stepdad and I can tell you this topic is even hard for me. Hard because I see how difficult it can be for my wife and the children involved, which seems to always create some kind of tension.
My wife Hannah has to deal with our daughter’s father on a regular basis and he isn’t easy to get along with. Sometimes it seems he will fight for something just to give Hannah a hard time at his daughter’s expense and that bothers me. It feels as though every few years he gets the courts involved. Court consumes money and time and leaves everyone drowning in paperwork. It’s an overwhelming experience for the entire family. It can be hard to feel hopeful during these dark and challenging seasons.
The primary foundation for building hope and remaining hopeful is prayer. It is so important to pray together and individually daily. Include your children in praying, not specifically about the court case, but in general. Be sure you pray as a family. It can be a very bonding experience. Plus it gives the children an opportunity to pray for both of their parents in a positive way that reflects the love of Christ. They most likely have stress regarding the situation as well. They can tell when things are amiss and to leave them without an outlet is to allow space for their uncertainty and fear to grow.
As a stepfather I say be involved in everything, make a real effort to listen to what your spouse is going through with the courts and what the other parent is communicating with your spouse. Do not take the hands-off approach. Your spouse is going to need a lot of patience, prayer, encouragement, and especially hope.
Personally, I think one of the greatest things you can do to support your spouse in court battles is to stand beside them. Go to every court hearing with them, take off work if needed. Don’t let them face this alone. This presentation will show a unified front. Hannah really appreciated the support. Going to court is an overwhelming and exhausting experience, it is nice to know you are not alone. Pray together before and after the court appearances. It truly is an easier experience when you feel God’s presence in that room and know your spouse is with you.
I remember one instance when Hannah and I were first dating and were visiting some friends. He was running late and Hannah allowed him to drop off their daughter there. He came with his girlfriend and wanted to discuss something with Hannah in the front yard. They began verbally attacking her and trying to get me on their side. Instead, I made it clear I stood by her side. She felt so relieved to have someone there to protect her. I realized that day, if I was going to be with Hannah I would need to accept being there in every way.
At the end of the day, our hope is that we are great parents and can display to our children what a marriage should look like and how to deal with others during difficult situations. We are examples whether we want to be or not. God has called us to be a light to the world. It is important to remember the first people who watch us are our own family, our spouses and our children. Lean on Christ when it gets hard, lean on each other, and hope will rise like the rising sun, every day anew.
We Want To Hear From You:
Have you or your spouse gone through a custody battle? How did you support them during this process or how important was receiving their support? What tools did you find helpful in this blog and how will you apply them going forward?
Be sure to read our devotional on YouVersion: 40&7: A Guide To Peace During A Custody Battle
For more resources to assist you or others you know going through a custody battle click here.
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