Stressful courtroom encounters do nothing to facilitate a workable child-custody agreement. Regardless of the differences you and your spouse share that are leading to your divorce, the creation of a good child-custody agreement will have lasting benefits. Read on for eight ways to make your child-custody situation better.
1. Begin your discussion on child-custody issues by addressing issues that both of you feel comfortable discussing and are more likely to agree upon, such as vacation plans or the choice of school the child will attend.
2. The desire to spend as much as time as possible with your child is natural, but overcommitting can just cause more problems. Take a realistic look at your work schedule when forming your visitation plan.
3. Keep your child's present day-to-day schedule in mind when creating a plan. Children love routines, and the stress of a divorce will only increase the need for the security of a familiar schedule, so try to make plans that parallel the current schedule as much as possible. Keep it simple and easy to understand.
4. Make sure that you address as many contingencies as possible by working a Plan B into your agreement. Have a list of people that can be counted on to make a last-minute school pick-up and a list of dependable babysitters that can pinch hit.
5. Be cautious about placing an adult burden on your child by forcing them to make decisions about custody and visitation. While it's important to ensure that you honor the child's opinion, make sure that they don't feel too pressured.
6. Be respectful of the other parent at all times, no matter what your personal opinion may be. Bad-mouthing, passive-aggressive behavior, and schedule sabotaging will negatively affect your child. Be lenient and allow your child to make contact with the other parent if they so desire at any time.
7. Coordinate your calendars. Children are busy little people, and school, sports, lessons, and play-dates can present divorcing parents with a nightmare if they aren't well-organized. Online calendaring systems are a great way for parents to keep each other up-to-date and organized.
8. Issues involving minor children are never "done and ordered" by the family court. The needs of the child, often referred to as the "best interest of the child" are always a priority. For this reason, all custody arrangements, child-support amounts, and visitation schedules remain open and may be amended by a hearing. With this in mind, make sure that the changing needs of a growing child are addressed when necessary. For example, a teenager who is driving and has increased social activity may want to have some input into a custody and visitation arrangement, prompting the need for an adjustment.
Speak with your divorce attorney such as J. Scott Braden for assistance when it comes time to create agreements concerning your child.
My husband and I had a great marriage for about ten years--that is, until he started cheating on me. I found out about it from a friend, and once I started peeling off the layers of my husband's lies, I realized that we hardly had anything to salvage in the first place. I decided that it would be best to get divorced, but I knew that it would be painful and difficult. This blog is for anyone out there who needs to gather the strength to get divorced. Check out these posts to learn more about the process and how the right lawyer can help.