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Do this when you have to negotiate child custody

Dealing with child custody matters isn’t always easy, but the situation is almost always better when both parents can work as a team. This starts when you’re working out the parenting plan, which is what governs how custody and visitation of the children will be handled now that you and your spouse aren’t together.

One of the most important things to remember in these situations is that you can’t let your own emotions govern what you do. Instead, you need to think about what’s best for the children. The focus must be on their best interests throughout your negotiations. Here are some tips for handling the process:

  1. Put your emotions about the divorce on the back burner. It can be difficult to put your own emotions aside when you’re dealing with custody issues because the problems that lead to the divorce are still so fresh in your mind. If you find that you’re struggling with this, take a step back and think only about how the decisions you make will impact your child.
  2. Aim for clarity and practicality in your decisions. Make sure that you’re being realistic when you set a custody schedule. Try not to leave any room for misinterpretation about how important issues with the children will be handled. The more concise and clearer you state things, the less chance there is that they will be misconstrued in the future.

Any terms you agree to during the negotiations should be documented in the parenting plan so you can review it later if there are any questions or disagreements about what should happen. The plan is based on what your kids need when it is made, but you can opt to modify it as they grow up and their needs evolve. 

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