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 raisi

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

When a couple decides to have a child, they typically contemplate 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 on the life of the child, and the parents can have significant disagreements about future arrangements. After all, the children are the ones who are often the most confused, saddened and angry about the separation.

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 what type of visitation schedule will be given to the non-custodial parent.

However, parents often miss some very important matters that must be addressed at this time. This includes 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 co-parent together in the future effectively. 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. This could greatly increase the stress involved in the proceedings. Court rulings often leave both parents upset and feeling like they have no control. Parents may struggle when working with the other parent afterward, unable to let go of the feelings connected with the entire experience.

Even if you and the other parent have a positive relationship after the proceedings or 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 can provide a supportive environment for the child.

Should a dispute arise, you must 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.

The Benefits of Colorado Joint Child Custody

In a home where both parents love and provide for the child, the emotional tax is difficult. As couples find the need to dissolve their relationship, they would do well to consider child custody arrangements that benefit everyone, especially their child.

Parents must consider a "regular" weekly or bi-weekly plan that is consistent, stable and beneficial to the child to prevent any detrimental effect of the child in the shuffle back and forth between households. Today, the evidence is clear that joint custody is far preferable to the alternative. A study conducted in 2014 and published online in early 2015 concluded that children of separated or divorced parents do much better emotionally, physically and academically when each parent plays an active role in their lives. Children who spend time with both parents after a separation or divorce had fewer psychosomatic issues than children who rarely or never saw their other parent.

A Swedish study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, surveyed almost 150,000 children in the age group of 12 to 15 years. The results indicated that children who lived only with only one parent exhibited more problems socially, emotionally and academically relative to those who shared time equally with their parents.

Researchers said this indicated the importance of children keeping a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce. The alternative is children losing an important relationship in their lives, which can cause stress-related health issues, social problems and difficulty concentrating.

In some cases, joint custody is not an option. Abusive parents or those who are incarcerated, have substance abuse issues or abandoned their family are certainly exceptions to the shared parenting plans. However, households where both parents had strong relationships with their child before the divorce, it is much better for everyone involved to maintain as much of that original relationship as possible, even in separate homes.

Of all the issues parents face in a separation or divorce, decisions regarding their child are often the most demanding and challenging. Ask any parent and he or she will most likely say that they want to do what is best for the child. In light of the research, parents would do well to keep joint child custody in mind as they seek to dissolve their relationship or marriage.

What Can I Do to Make Sharing Custody Easier?

One of the most difficult aspects of separation or divorce is the prospect of sharing custody. As a parent, you want what's best for your child, which requires having a solid relationship with both parents. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sharing custody of your child that much easier when tensions are running high.

Keeping your child's needs in mind when coming to terms on custody agreements is of utmost importance. For instance, scheduling can be exceedingly difficult, especially when the child is involved in a number of after-school activities and social obligations, and in that case, try to schedule visits on days that make the most sense to all of your schedules on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Consider alternating full weekends from Friday through Sunday overnight every other week, and then build in the weekday plan according to the most available parent or the parent most involved in the child's activities. Or, some parents prefer alternating full weeks for a child of an age and maturity who is accepting of being without the other parent for a full week at a time throughout the year. What's most important is that both parents have ample quality time with the kids.

Good communication between you and the other parent can also help simplify joint custody arrangements. If you are uncomfortable speaking to your ex directly, try communicating via text or email (which will also provide you with a record of your conversations). Additionally, it's best not to make negative comments about the other parent in front of your child. This may cause confusion, animosity, behavior issues or even result in low self-esteem if the child takes the comments to heart.

Along with the above, it's also recommended that you remain flexible in your requests. Conflicts are sure to arise, and it's up to each parent to compromise whenever that is the best course of action. Conceding on small things can also lend itself to more compromise when it comes to major decisions. Occasionally, discussing minor and major changes with a family law attorney can be helpful when determining appropriate compromises and terms for settling multiple issues and disputes all at one time.

The Risks and Dangers of Not Finding Common Ground

Once a child custody dispute has been settled and the court documents the details of that settlement, any deviation can result in sanctions or even criminal charges for the parent who violates the court order. Most parents are diligent about following the custody arrangement outlined in their divorce decree. However, there are times when the authorities need to get involved to enforce the terms of a custody agreement, as one recent story demonstrates.

It begins with a father who feared he would never see his daughter again after his ex-wife absconded with their 4-year-old daughter and fled to Mexico with her and her teenage daughter from a previous relationship. The father now plans to seek sole custody of his daughter and is asking a court to terminate his ex-wife's parental rights. The man had primary custody of the girl, and the mother received visitation rights with certain conditions surrounding the visitation.

The ordeal began the first week of December when the father dropped his daughter off for a scheduled visitation with her mother. When the mother failed to return the girl as scheduled, he tried repeatedly to contact his ex-wife. When he arrived at her home to find there was no one present, he contact the police to report his child missing. According to the father, the police declined to file a missing person's report and took no action for several days. They considered it just another custody dispute.

Eventually, police decided to enter the names of the three missing females into a criminal database and the mother was arrested 11 days after absconding with the children in Texas at a border crossing after checking on passports. Border patrol agents entered their names into the computer and got a hit. She was arrested, and, according to court documents, was in possession of drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest. The two children were placed in protective custody before being returned to their dads.

The mother is now facing charges of misdemeanor child endangerment and interfering with a custody order, which is a felony offense. Child custody disputes can become extremely contentious for some parents, especially if one parent deems the other an unfit parent and a danger to the child.

Now imagine that this father also filed a civil contempt or a motion concerning a dispute of parenting order in the original custody or divorce case, he could have also asked the court to impute additional sanctions against the mother for violating the parenting orders. And he could have asked for changes to the parenting orders to prevent and/or penalize mother from further violations of the orders.

It can be beneficial for parents who want to protect their parental rights to consult with a knowledgeable attorney when custody agreements are violated.

ng 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.