Navigating change is difficult. Rachel Green & the re•solutions team can help increase clarity & improve communication for couples in conflict.

Do you enjoy fighting?

I saw my cousin over the week-end. Her brother is a drug addict. Total drug addict, the kind who steals things from his parents, never holds jobs, is in & out of jail. She said her parents told her that they are planning to leave their house, when they die, jointly to her and her brother. She said, “Figure this out now, because he will fight me to get the whole thing, and I will just walk away. I am not going to fight.”

So funny to contrast that attitude with that of the couple who I saw this morning, who fought for an hour over child support; who – despite paying me a good bit of money to sit with them – would not let me get in a word edgewise.

The law in NY on child support is not completely clear when there is joint custody, and here, the children are spending 50-50 time with each of their parents. But the things that make this parent so sure that she is entitled to child support – despite the 50-50 schedule and the fact that their incomes are just about equal (48%, 52%, of total parental income), is that the nanny is always at her house during the day.

She has a point. Just about all the kids’ laundry is done there, they have playdates there, she lives in the school district of the kids’ school and dad does not, she has to keep groceries there for most of their meals (as well as feeding the nanny).

The father agrees that she has some extra expenses (which he did not agree with at first – but he has come around) and so should get some child support – but she was asking for the same amount she would have if she had the old-fashioned kind of schedule where the dad sees the kids every other week-end and once per week for dinner.

It seems to clear to me that that isn’t reasonable – why do they want to keep fighting? Why does each initially adopt the most extreme position? His – she needs zero child support – hers – she needs 100% of child support.

And she had an affair, which was the triggering event of their separation, and that always intensifies the situation. But she is nonetheless so engaged still with him, so intensely focused on him, so much wants him to understand her and her thoughts/needs/views of the whole thing.

And yet – I thought about my cousin. Because where does all this fighting get them?

I hope I can help them to resolve this.