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Five Tips for Negotiating Child Custody

When you have run out of options and are faced with separating your family, it is almost guaranteed that there will be tension. How do you overcome that tension? We share our top tips.

A separation or divorce is a difficult process and an emotional time for everybody. This ordeal becomes even more complicated when children are involved. In addition to monitoring their emotional health, you also need to deal with their long-term care and expenses.  Child custody is rarely agreed on by both parties, and very often results in hard feelings, feelings of loss and financial strain when not properly negotiated.  However, there are simple ways to make this a smoother process. When both parties can remember that the primary reason for child custody negations is for the child’s best interest, this understanding can go a long way into making the right decisions.

This is your child, not a tool for revenge

Most divorces leave hard feelings for the opposing parents.  The unfortunate result of this is that the child in the middle becomes the tool used for revenge. There are countless stories about parents threatening to remove visitation rights, or even move as far away as possible.  Your child should never be put into this position. Unless they are in danger, cutting off regular time with the other parent only hurts them, even causing long-term damage.  Child custody should be as respectable as possible. Bearing in mind the complications of travel and their sleep needs, try to be as open as possible allowing as much visitation as possible. It is important that your child sees both parents as much as they are able.

Not everything has to do with money

The idea of child support is to have financial help for the needs of the children involved.  Many arguments and court cases have arisen from spouses claiming large amounts of financial support from ex-spouses who cannot afford it or simply do not want to pay it.  While financial support is extremely important, it is even more important not to forget the reason it exists. TO HELP WITH YOUR CHILD.  There are other ways to help. Work with your ex-spouse to find an agreement that both parties can live and work with.  Perhaps a lower child support is more financially feasible, but extra help with taking a child to and from activities will work.  Extra help with school clothing, taking the child shopping, physically helping with birthday parties, the options are endless.  Yes, financial aid is imperative, but if that aid can be met in other ways as well, work this into your negations, it can be a smoother process for both of you.

Focus on the future, not the past

It becomes very easy to spend your negotiating time fighting over the past hurts and damages. That is not what the purpose of this time is for.  Set aside differences and hurt to focus on the future and what is best for your child.  It is easier to come to a joint conclusion on a negotiation when both parties are focused on a productive outcome, rather than an unsettled past.

Be open and honest

Above all, when you are negating your child care custody, be open and honest. It is the best way to ensure that you are understood and that your child’s best interests are looked after. If you are feeling hurt or bullied, speak up. If you are in financial distress, mention it.  The key factor is to always remember is this is about your child – the child that had no say or no cause towards your separation or divorce.  Put aside your differences with your ex-partner, be honest and discuss options with an open mind.  This is the key to having manageable and successful child custody agreement. When you are ready to negotiate your child custody agreement, let us help you.

At McGlashan & Mackinnon, our seasoned lawyers will work with your specific family situation to find effective and efficient solutions to any legal matters you are facing. Call (780) 437-3030 today.