Deciding on a Child Custody Agreement
Getting divorced is never easy, but having a child custody battle wrapped up in divorce proceedings can make the process so much more complicated. Unfortunately, child custody arrangements often overlook the needs of the child and do not have any flexibility to account for a child’s changing needs throughout adolescence. To ensure that your child’s best interests are addressed in your custody agreement, you will want to work with an experienced family lawyer and include the following steps in your planning.
Listen to your child’s concerns
While an infant or toddler may not be able to fully grasp the situation of divorce and contribute meaningful input about custody, older children should certainly be involved in the discussion. Many parents will choose to avoid including their children in custody talks, but this can actually have a negative outcome, as children may feel that they are ignored or unable to determine their best interests. With the right attorney present to serve as a litigator, you can create a custody arrangement peacefully while keeping your child involved to be sure that the agreement is right for all parties involved.
Create a plan that can be altered later on
What works when a child is in grade school may not be ideal as children grow older, so custody agreements should not always be rigidly set until a child is 18. Modern custody agreements include mandatory binding review at a family law office every 2 years to offer a chance for children to bring up concerns or requests to change custody terms.
Put personal disagreements aside
For some parents, custody terms can quickly turn into a personal matter or a weapon in a divorce case. Regardless of the reason the divorce and the other litigation involved, it is important for parents to remember that their children should be at the heart of every decision related to custody terms. If a child wishes to live primarily with one parent, the other should not take this choice personally and understand that the child may change her mind as she gets older.
Working with an experienced divorce lawyer in your case can reduce your stress and allow you to move forward on positive terms.