When you are going through a divorce, one of the hardest things to agree on is child custody and child visitation. It helps to begin talking about this as soon as you can, along with getting legal advice. Here are some tips for compromising with your spouse on child custody arrangements.
Decide Where the Children Will Live
Start the process by deciding where the children should live in the short-term. A good place to start with this decision is thinking in terms of where the child would be happiest. Does one parent have a larger home with a yard? Is one of the homes closer to the children's school? This can help you decide which home would be better for the children. Also ask your children where they want to live as they might have a preference. It is not unusual for one child to prefer living with one parent, and another child to live with another parent. This may be something you and your spouse would be willing to do.
Work Out the Details
Once you know where the children are going to live, you can start thinking about other details. For example, set up a visitation schedule for the parent not living with the children. Both parents should be willing to compromise and adjust their work and personal schedule to fit the needs of the children. If this means skipping your weekly bowling session or cutting your Friday night happy hour with co-workers short, so be it. Work out details about visitation, how long each parent gets to spend with the children, and what holidays and special occasions each parent has the children. It is also not uncommon for one child to be with one parent, while the other is with the other parent. Don't rule out this option.
It is highly recommended that you go through mediation if you and your spouse can't agree on certain details about child custody or child support. The mediator is a neutral third party, so they will not side with you or your spouse. They will work with both of you and your lawyers to try and come to a compromise. This is a good option to choose before heading to court to figure out child custody disputes.
Get a Good Attorney
Having a good divorce attorney is also very important when deciding on child custody arrangements. Even if you and your spouse have a verbal agreement, it needs to be in writing. Your lawyer will represent you and help provide paperwork so you can make the custody arrangements legal.