Worksheet: Children

The next set of questions has to do with the children that are a result of your relationship. If you have no children, or your new significant other or new spouse has no children, or grown children, then skip this section. Otherwise, answer each of these questions because they apply to you whether you are still married or living with your significant other, living with a new spouse or even if you have been divorced recently or for some time.

  1. With regard to the major decisions in the children’s lives, such as choice of medical practitioners, where they attend school, the governing of their day-to-day routine, what church/synagogue/religious facility they attend, or disciplinary action, who would you say is the Shot-Caller?
    • Me ____
    • My ex (soon-to-be ex) ____
    • Both of us ____
  2. If you are divorced, do you have
    • Sole legal custody ____
    • Joint legal custody ____
    • Sole physical custody ____
    • Joint physical custody ____
    • Visitation only to you ____
    • Visitation only to your spouse ____
    • Court ordered supervised visitation to you ____
    • Court ordered supervised visitation to your
    • ex (soon-to-be ex) ____
  3. If you are currently separated, what percentage of the time are the children with
    • Me ____%
    • My Ex ____%
  4. If you are not yet separated, what percentage of the time are the children with
    • You ____%
    • Your soon-to-be ex ____%
  5. Are the children influenced by
    • Your ex (or soon-to-be ex) who openly displays his or her opposition to you ____
    • Your ex’s new significant other, spouse or other family members on his/her side ____
    • Your new significant other _____
    • Your new spouse ____
  6. Are the children influenced in positive ways by
    • You ____
    • Your ex (or soon-to-be ex) ____
    • Your ex’s new significant other, spouse or other family members on his/her side ____
    • Your new significant other ____
    • Your new spouse ____
  7. Are the children influenced in negative ways by
    • You ____
    • Your ex (or soon-to-be ex ) ____
    • Your ex’s new significant other, spouse or other family members on his/her side ____
    • Your new significant other ____
    • Your new spouse ____
  8. What residence do the children consider their primary residence?
    • My home ____
    • My ex’s home ____
    • Both homes ____
    • There is no primary residence ____
  9. To whom do the children go to for money?
    • Me ____
    • My ex ____
    • Both of us ____
  10. Who is involved in the children’s day-to-day activities?
    • Mostly me ____
    • Mostly my ex ____
    • Both of us equally ____
  11. How many days a week, or month, do you spend with the children?
    • Weekly ____ days a week
    • Monthly ____ days a month
  12. If you fit within the stepparent category, how much say do you have in the decisions of your significant other’s/new spouse’s children’s lives?
    • Equal in decision making ____
    • I take no part in decision making ____
    • I give them money or take care of other needs such as living expenses ____

If you are the Shot-Caller in the major decisions in your children’s lives, have sole legal or physical custody or primary physical custody, spend the majority of the time with the children, tend to their day-to-day activities, and it is you they come to for monetary needs, chances are you are in the control seat. Place a big “1” under the Children’s category beneath “In Control.”

If you or your ex, or your soon-to-be ex, tend to share major decisions (joint legal custody), and the children spend time with both of you as a pattern during your marriage (if you are not separated/divorced), or under some mutually agreed upon custody arrangement, and they tend to ask both of you for money, or rely on both of you to meet their day-to-day living expenses, then scratch down a “1” in the “Somewhat in Control” column. If, on the other hand, you do not spend much time with your children, or post-separation you visit your children, have little or no say in major decisions affecting them, are not involved as a rule in their day-to-day activities, but on special occasions only, you and only you provide them some monetary boost other than child support (and your ex doles out the money to them), then give yourself a “1” in the “Out of Control” space under the Big Six “Children’s” section.

Also, if your ex’s significant other, spouse or other family member on his/her side, or your new significant other or spouse influences your children, this is one more reason to add a point to either the “Somewhat in Control” or the “Out of Control” column. In your scoring, it is up to you to decide whether the influences from significant others, spouses and extended family are positive or negative and how much impact such influence(s) have on your children.

An important note about the Big Six “Children’s” section: this area of control is one that can shift radically and constantly. Because you are dealing with “the little people,” and in actuality these little youngsters belong to both of you, the control over them can shift from time to time. As you make your assessment relative to the above, know that these answers can change when circumstances change (i.e. your son suddenly goes to live with your ex). So when they do, the control dynamic can shift right along with them.