How to Tell If Your Custody Agreement is Working for You and Your Children
The family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law explain methods for determining if a divorced couple’s child custody agreement is a good fit.
While navigating through the divorce process, many questions and disputes can arise. Aside from dividing marital assets, such as the family home or rights to a business, many divorce cases also address the need for a child custody and visitation arrangement. While determining a custody arrangement is a process not taken lightly, the heat of the moment can cause a parent to fight for something that is not in the best interest of the child or the family.
Whether you are currently drafting a child custody agreement, or you are already living through one, consider these recommendations to determine whether the agreement is a good fit for you and your children.
It is nearly impossible to proceed through the divorce process without emotional involvement, whether it be positive or negative. However, negative emotions develop more frequently, often resulting in unrealistic custody demands based on a fear or insecurity. When constructing a custody agreement it’s important to consider realistic expectations of both parents’ lifestyle. What are the work schedules? Does each living arrangement accommodate the lifestyle of the children for more than just a brief visit? No parent wants to feel like he or she was cheated out of time with the children, but creating an environment of calmness and stability for the children should come first.
If you had legal representation throughout the divorce process, then he or she ideally steered you away from making irrational claims and decisions. However, if you opted to tackle it alone, you may have lacked the guidance to help you from getting trapped in a less than ideal situation. If you agreed to an unfavorable child custody agreement without legal representation, it is important that you consult with an attorney to learn more about custody arrangement modifications.
Additionally, while it is important to consider the needs of the children while initially drafting an agreement, it is also critical to plan for lifestyle changes as everyone ages. Perhaps the kids will take up a new sport that requires a steady commitment to practices and games, or you are in line for a promotion at work that requires longer hours and more travel. While you do not need to forgo time with your children because there is a possibility these changes could occur, you should regularly think about the future and how you and your children’s lives will change. Keep track of these changes as they occur and how they positively or negatively affect your parenting plan with your former spouse. You can then coordinate a time to review or alter the arrangement as you and your spouse see fit.
Above all, the overall wellbeing of the children is the most important aspect to consider when defining the terms of a custody agreement. But, how parents communicate after the divorce is finalized can become an important issue as well . Many problems can be avoided if parents maintain communication with each other regarding pickups, drop-offs and other parenting tactics that involve both the children and the parents. If you and your ex-spouse can’t effectively communicate, then the custody and/or visitation agreement should be re-evaluated.
Child custody and visitation can be a complex, intricate and sometimes difficult matter to address no matter how cooperative each parent is. But in the end, it is definitely possible to reach an agreement that meets the needs of both parents and the children. Of course, if more serious issues are prevalent at the time custody and visitation are being decided, such as domestic abuse, you should immediately contact legal representation as the need for an adequate, safe custody agreement becomes much more imperative.
For more information about child custody agreements or your unique family law circumstances, contact the family law attorneys at Rodier Family Law.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide about the subject matter. A licensed Maryland attorney should be sought about your specific circumstances.