I say this early and often. Make ALL of your divorce decree decisions NOW! You want to do this prior to the judge signing off on your decree and making your divorce official.
While reading divorce decrees I often run upon a little nightmare scattered throughout the document. It's the ole "Father and Mother will decide later" stipulation. Here are some examples:
"Father and mother will decide jointly if the children are allowed to get their driver's licenses"
"Mother and Father will decide whether the children can obtain and use birth control"
"Father and Mother will decide jointly on the preschool the child will attend"
On the surface, a clause like this may seem harmless and innocent. It's not. Pushing these decisions until later is a means for an ex spouse to control, manipulate, negotiate, and harass. Don't do this!
Below is a real email we received yesterday. I have changed the personal names in the email to fake names, but everything else is the same.
In order to get on the same page with driving I was thinking of some things we would need to discuss in order to have a good plan for our son.
I understand from our conversation with Dr. Benson that it was not your experience to be taught to drive but the father-son experience of teaching our kids to drive is important to me. Would you be open to creating a schedule for those sessions? Would you want to teach him as well?
Car ownership -- two cars or one shared purchase? If one car which house? If one car can either parent remove driving privileges? Which house carries extra keys? Who pays for car maintenance? School parking permits?
Who carries insurance? Does our son need to help pay for his insurance? Does he need a job to have driving privileges?
What devices or apps can we install for vehicle safety monitoring? (speeding, etc) What boundaries should we set on how far he can travel? Or maybe a set perimeter?
What weather is he not allowed to drive in? No freeway driving until what point?
What expectations need to be met for grades and behavior to keep driving privileges?
Once he has his license, at what point is he allowed to have passengers and can it be anyone or just family?
I'm in the process of formulating opinions on those but wanted to let you know what I am thinking about. If you have an opinion already, I'm open to hearing it. Or if there are other things you'd like me to consider, just let me know.
To the casual reader, you may be thinking that John is just a concerned father reaching out in an effort to coparent. He isn't. We have worked with Mary for more than a year now and John is a controlling, manipulative, high-conflict narcissist.
To someone who suffers from post narcissistic abuse, each and every one of John's questions are simply a means to control the son and the ex-wife Mary. He doesn't want solutions or resolve and he certainly doesn't want their son to have unfettered access to drive. He wants to be able to put punishments, rules and restrictions in place that he can harm and control everyone around him.
If John truly wanted their son to enjoy this amazing rite of passage, he would write something like this:
"I am so excited for our son to get his license! What an amazing time of life! I can't wait to share this with him."
How to solve this: