Learn to make a child-centred custody agreement

Deciding on a custody agreement doesn't need to be combative. It's possible to work together and create a plan that puts the interests of the child first. We'll go over 5 important things you should consider.

Learn to make a child-centred custody agreement

1. Understand that it isn't about what the kids say

It may seem counterintuitive to play down the children's expressed desires at a time when you're fighting for their best interests, but it's the big picture that matters. Your kids are going to change, their schedules are going to change, and your own situations are going to change. Don't overcomplicate custody agreements.

2. Don't bicker over small scheduling details

Focus on the broad outlines of a custody arrangement that works for both parents and places the children where it's best for them to be.

3. Be willing to let go of the family home

  • Many divorcing people fixate on keeping the family home. But too often, the cost of keeping the house means a difficult financial burden.
  • A house isn't very good at creating income or paying the grocery bills.
  • It's normal to want the kids to grow up in the house they've always known, but it's important to consider what opportunities they'll miss if the home creates financial stress.
  • Be willing to bite the bullet and start fresh. Your children will adjust.

4. Forget the win-at-all-costs approach

  • In many cases, the fight itself becomes the focus, rather than the child's welfare. You may be spending more energy on "winning" than on being a good parent.
  • Custody battles can also poison what's left of your relationship with your spouse, but that relationship still matters. Remember that the two of you are going to be parents together as long as you live.
  • If you want what's best for your child, seek peace. That matters more than the actual custody arrangement, and children want their parents not to fight more than they want anything else.

5. Embrace the use of cell phones

  • If you're like most parents, you probably cringe at the idea of your youngster carrying around a cell phone. But if you're sharing custody of that child with an ex, a cell phone can be a good tool for harmony and happiness.
  • Kids are usually fine with an arrangement that sends them back and forth between their parent's houses. But once they reach the tween-age years, starting around 10 or 11, their peer relationships suddenly become very important. That's when the constant home-switching can become upsetting to them for the simple reason that their friends get confused about where they are.
  • A cell phone is the perfect solution. Your child will appreciate the easy contact with his or her friends, instead of starting to resent the unorthodox living arrangements.

There are few things more difficult than going through a custody battle. But there are ways to make the whole thing more bearable for everyone involved. Use these tips and always keep your child's best interests in mind.

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