Finding common ground in child custody agreements

Parents need to remain focused during child custody disputes, as the decisions they make could have long-lasting implications.

When a couple makes the decision to have a child, they know that this will be a relationship-changing event. They will now have to focus most of their time and energy on raising the child, and some couples find themselves experiencing problems adjusting to their new roles.

If the couple decides to break-up or file for divorce, they will have to determine how child custody and parenting time should be divided between the parents. These decisions will have a major impact upon the life of the child, and the parents can have significant disagreements about the future arrangements.

When the parties sit down to discuss these issues, they often focus on the big picture items: who will have custody, who will make major decisions for the child, and also what type of visitation schedule will be given to the non-custodial parent.

However, those parents often miss some very important matters that must be addressed at this time. This includes things such as the future educational expenses of the child, as well as the role of each of the parents during major milestone events in the child's life. Having these discussions now can help ensure that the parents are able to effectively co-parent together in the future. They will have the opportunity to work toward an agreement that is reflective of their wishes and concerns.

Some may need the court's involvement to decide what is in the child's best interests if they cannot work together to find an agreement; which could greatly increase the stress involved in the proceedings. These rulings often leave both parents upset and feeling like they have no control. They may struggle when working with their ex-spouse afterward, unable to let go of the feelings connected with the entire experience.

Even if you and your ex-spouse have a positive relationship after the divorce, you will both need to remain committed to keeping the child out of any disagreements that you may have. You need to develop clear lines of communication to ensure that you are able to provide a supportive environment for the child.

Should a dispute arise, it is important that you understand your rights and obligations at this time. If you have questions about your specific custody situation, or need help modifying an existing agreement, you should speak to an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can explain the process, and immediately begin pursuing a resolution that is in the best interests of you and your child.