An Interview with Merissa Grayson; America's Blended Family Expert
I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Merissa Grayson who is known as America’s Blended Family Expert, a role that she didn’t seek, but one that she’s honored to serve in. As a Family Law Attorney, Merissa helps her clients resolve their legal problems related to child custody, child support, or divorce by collaborating and representing them in court. As a private Family Law Mediator, Merissa helps parents work together to reach an agreement that works best for their divided family. As a Co-parenting coach, Merissa provides guidance and set goals to help parents move forward and smoothly transition or peacefully exist as a divided/blended family.
Merissa is also an Author, her ground-breaking series, The Business of Co-Parenting, was written for parents who are struggling with either making the transition into a Divided/Blended Family or struggling with co-parenting peacefully to help build a better future for their families. She has written other books since The Business of Co-Parenting, The Business of Co-Parenting for Dads: How to Establish a Parenting Partnership and Live Drama Free, The Business of Co-Parenting for Moms: How to be the CEO of Your Divided Family & Live in Peace (Volume 1) and The Business of Co-Parenting for Stepparents: How to Responsibly Invest in Your Blended Family and Build Harmony.
Q. What would you say to a parent that's in front of you asking, how will my child's life improve after the divorce?
A. Well, that really depends on you and the other parent. Divorce won't necessarily improve your child's life. In fact, it's more like a "catch 22", while it may resolve the issues your child may experience due to their parents' tumultuous marriage, it will also create issues that come with the territory of ending a marriage. So, if/how their life improves in the end will depend on you and your ex's ability to work together for your child's benefit and prevent or lessen the residual effects your divorce has on your child.
Q. What should be done so our child will feel secure, loved and not caught in the middle.
A. Reassure and show your child that you love them so much that your personal feelings for their other parent will not interfere with your ability to work together to teach, love, protect, and nurture them. Never involve your child in your "grown up" issues or discussion.Encourage and support your child having a positive relationship with the other parent. Let your child know it's okay to love, miss, and want to spend time with the other parent and never speak negatively about your ex in your child's presence or hearing distance. If you hate your ex, don't let your child know that.
Q. What if my ex doesn't want to Co-parent with me?
A. When parents separate, it's not uncommon for one (or both) parents to resist co-parenting.Unfortunately, we can't make people change. The best way to foster a co-parenting relationship is to model the behavior you want to see in the other parent. It starts with you. If you want someone to do something right, do a great job of showing them how it's done.
Q. When an ex only wants 50/50 to pay less child support and isn't thinking of their children, what should a parent do?
A. Irrespective of their reason to want 50/50, it's important to first look beyond their motive and consider their position as a parent. Why shouldn't they have 50/50 custody? (& "I'm the better parent" is not a good enough reason) Are they unfit to parent your children? How so? Do they work/travel a lot and not have time for that level of involvement? Do they not have adequate living space/conditions conducive to a child living there? Do they live too far from your child's school to get them there on time and well-rested? Be prepared to demonstrate/prove to the court why it's in your child's best interest for them to be in your care the majority of the time.
Q. How to handle an ex that's continually lying?
A. Sadly, lying often comes with the territory of separation. The key is to document, document, document. Communicate in writing as much as possible using an online communication app such as www.talkingparents.com and/or confirm all verbal agreements in writing. Keep a calendar or journal of important incidents that occur. At some point the inconsistencies (truth) will come to light and you can use your documentation to defeat allegations/disputes.
Q. What's are your top three questions you ask when a clients requests full physical and legal custody?
A. Why? Are you prepared for that? How are you going to facilitate a positive relationship/visitation with the other parent?
Q. What's your inspiration? You've got so much insight, you're level headed and definitely a parent that would be a dream (you real are) to co-parent with! What prompted you to write your books?
A. The book series was inspired after looking back on my family's once drama filled journey, reflecting on how far we've come and wanting other families to experience the same magic - two homes, one family, filled with harmony and love.
I can not say enough about Merissa, I thank you for your time and most importantly thank you for being an inspiration and the voice of reason for so many that need your help and guidance. If you find yourself needing assistance Merissa will be your voice when you need to be heard.