There’s no denying that going through a divorce is never easy. But for those parents who also need to negotiate the custody of their children, things can become even more difficult.
In fact, divorce can cause a plethora of long-term effects on children’s emotional and mental development. It’s unfortunate but normal for their trust to be shaken, for them to experience grief, and for them to need constant reassurance.
And if you have your child’s best interest in mind, it’s important to educate yourself on how to create a custody agreement before it’s too late.
Keep reading to learn about everything you’ll need to know to negotiate a successful agreement that will make you and your children happy.
Discover Common Ground
It’s important to try to find areas of common ground with your former spouse. This will make the custody process smoother and much more comfortable for both parties.
If you’re finding this task nearly impossible to accomplish on your own, that’s okay. Hire a divorce mediator to act as a nonaligned third party who can help you and your former spouse to calmly and fairly resolve any custody issues that arise.
Not only will mediation assist with the custody agreement process, it can also help to give parents the communication skills necessary to peacefully coexist in the future.
What Should A Custody Agreement Look Like?
Let’s cover the basics. An agreement should include these things:
- Which parents have legal & physical custody
- Visitation schedules
- How the child will be picked up and dropped off
- Details of the child’s agreed activities, religion, and schooling
- If needed, how changes to the agreement will occur in the future
It’s important to be as specific as possible when creating this agreement. This will prevent future custody issues from arising.
Flexibility Is Key
Remember, creating a successful custody agreement isn’t about what works for you. It’s about what works for everyone.
Keep this in mind while you’re going through this process. Check in with your kids periodically to make sure that they’re comfortable with all of the terms presented.
And as difficult as it may be to swallow, the agreement needs to work for your former spouse as well. The only way to avoid future issues and litigation is to stay flexible and work toward an agreement that makes everyone comfortable.
Get Familiar with the Law
Did you know that legal custody and physical custody are two different things?
A parent with legal custody has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s life (education, healthcare, religion, etc). If you have shared physical custody, chances are that you also share legal custody.
This information should always be included in your custody agreement and is a great example of the importance of educating yourself about the law. Do some research to ensure that your T’s are crossed and your I’s are dotted.
Although this may be a stressful time, staying positive is the best thing you can do for yourself and your children. If you educate yourself, stay flexible, and try to find some common ground, you’re sure to receive the best possible outcome. You can do this!
And if you need any help along the way, we’re here for you. Contact us anytime for assistance!