Divorce is a scary thing for anyone, but particularly for the children involved. One of the first questions your child may ask you is, “where am I going to live?” You may not have an immediate answer, but if you and your spouse can work things out before involving the children, it can be better for all involved.
It will be especially difficult when you begin to realize that there will be weekends, vacations, and holidays spent without your children post-divorce. But try to keep in mind that your main focus should be on the well-being of your children – after all, they did not create the problem, they’re the victims.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you work towards a positive child custody agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
- Try to find common ground. Using a mediator to work through the agreement is a good idea to help you keep focused. A third party, like a mediator, can save you and your family the expense and heartbreak of a legal battle.
- Be flexible. Keep lines of communication open so that you know whether the agreement is working for everyone. If you remain civil when talking with your ex-spouse about the children, you’ll be able to tweak any arrangement that is not working. As your children move into their teenage years, they may want more say in the situation.
- Know your rights. Legal custody is different than physical custody. A parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions involving schooling, religion, and medical care. Parents who share joint physical custody most always share legal custody, too.
- Most importantly – consider your children’s best interests. Shared physical custody is the most common type of custody agreement these days. Shared custody gives the children equal time with Mom and Dad, and it may also reduce child support payments.
Co-parenting after a divorce is not meant to be an easy solution for the parents; its intent should be to make life easier and more enjoyable for the children. After all, you didn’t divorce your children.