How to Discuss Child Custody during Divorce

You will have to settle many matters during a divorce. Often the most difficult and serious issue revolves around discussing child custody. Child custody arrangements prove complex and should establish both legal and physical aspects. Parents might get shared custody, or the court might give custody to only one of the parents. Issues about where the child will primarily reside, holiday arrangements, school year schedules and many other issues generally factor in as well.

  • You won’t necessarily need an attorney and you don’t have to go to court to settle child custody. Parents can work out their own arrangements without the involvement of a judge in some cases. They need to agree to put all their issues aside and discuss what is best for their child or children. You can get the help of a professional mediator who has experience with child custody cases. You will have to cover a lot of problems and face moments in which you won’t agree. A mediator can make the process easier, more efficient and convenient for all parties involved. Keep in mind that the mediator will not make a decision for you.

  • Try to discuss the situation in a calm way, exercising reasonableness and listening to one another. Negotiate the terms of your agreement and prepare to make compromises.
  • Discuss your child’s schedule and habits. Try to change as little as possible in his life. Try to keep him in the same house and the same school close to his friends. The divorce will represent an important and difficult change in a child’s life. Adding more change to the situation can prove traumatic.
  • Go over your own schedules. Determine when each of you can spend more time with the child without interfering with activities such as soccer practice or piano lessons. It will take some work to figure everything out, but you need to take this necessary step.
  • Decide whether, legally speaking, you will share custody or not. Shared custody means you will have to make decisions together. If you have conflicting opinions, perhaps you should leave the legal decisions in the hands of one person.
  • Holidays and special occasions are often difficult topics when it comes to custody arrangements. You both want the child for birthdays, Christmas, summer holidays, etc. Though it might prove difficult to give up these special moments, work out a system that allows you both to enjoy the special occasions with the child.
  • Take care not to bounce the child back and forth too much. Moving around from one parent to another every other day is not beneficial. Children need stability and to have the opportunity to focus on school and other activities.
  • When you reach a child custody agreement, put it on paper, sign it, have a lawyer revise it before submitting it to court together with your divorce papers.

Filed Under: Family & Relationships


About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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