Life brings many trials and tribulations our way, but the moment we are saying our vows, none of us assumes the actual trial. Marriages are hard, and sometimes it is for the best for people involved to go their separate ways. Divorce is never an easy decision, nor it is a simple process. If there are children involved, know that a divorce can get quite complicated and stressful, especially if you and your spouse haven’t parted on good terms. Since deciding custody is an inevitable part of the process, you should arm yourself with patience and information, to understand your rights and responsibilities and to eventually come up with a reasonable custody agreement. Knowing your options can make this troubled times feel less frustrating, while you will be able to help your children adjust to big changes.
Try to come up with a parenting plan
An ideal post-divorce scenario is to come up with a parenting plan that will work best for children, as well as both of you. It is a custody agreement with strictly defined responsibilities, schedules and decision-making for both parents. A solid parenting plan has many advantages, starting with lessening tension between parents and setting clear rules, allowing children to feel more comfortable during this period. Negotiate with your spouse every detail regarding sharing time, responsibilities and future decisions on your children’s health, education, etc. Also, keep in mind that the custody agreement can turn into a court order any time.
Understand different types of custody
It is important to know that there are several types of custody. Legal custody means that as a parent, you are the one who makes decisions about child’s schooling, religious beliefs, and medical treatments. Physical custody means that your child lives with you and that you are responsible for the day-to-day care of your kids. The noncustodial parent usually has visitation rights. You can share legal and physical custody with your spouse, but usually, custody is decided in the form of sole custody, joint custody, split custody, and third-party custody.
Know what to expect
Unless you manage to come up with a solid parenting plan, you will attend family court, where you will present evidence and arguments for the judge. Remember to document any relevant interaction with your spouse and children, including phone calls, texts, and emails. Also, you will have to present evidence on your income and employment status, as well as to answer questions about the ability to care for your children. At this point, it is best to hire a qualified attorney who will guide you through the proceeding and explain what to expect. Justice Family Lawyers advise divorcing couples to restrain from pointing fingers at one another in court, as the final decision will be made based on objective evidence.
If the judge decides to award physical custody to your spouse, know that even though you are not a custodial parent, you still have right to visit your child and spend time with him or her. Visitation rights include a visitation schedule, as well as the decision on a type of visitation. Your visitation time can be supervised or unsupervised, which is decision concerning a children’s safety. However, regardless of how much time you have with your child(ren), make the best of it and ensure to spend quality and memorable time with them. Turn off your phone, be a good listener to your children and be present at the moment, for it is all you have.
Act upon decisions and be trustworthy
Most important thing during this painful period is to continue to be a reliable and good parent, regardless of the arrangement. Make sure to be there for your children by showing up and being punctual, whether it is a visitation time, school event or any other responsibility. A sure way to break a child’s heart is not to keep a promise, so be realistic and do your best not to disappoint them.
Be there for your children
Every child’s dream is to live in a happy family with both parents, so a divorce is the end of the world as they know it. However, although too young to understand, children deserve an honest talk, as well as big support during this time. Learn how to talk to them about what is happening, but without pointing finger or blaming the other parent. Pay close attention and monitor your children to see how they are coping with the new reality.
Regardless of how angry or revengeful you may feel during the divorce, always keep in mind the well being of your children and their best interests in mind. Let their comfort and happy childhood be your only motivation, for it is the most important thing.