Newspaper reporting of divorce often refers to a custody battle or one parent winning custody. This way of phrasing things can make you think you also need to fight to “win” custody of your child.
First, custody does not need to be a battle, and it is better for all concerned if it is not. Second, kids are not prizes. They are individuals who have their own needs you must account for when settling custody.
Aim for harmony when making custody arrangements
If you seek agreement rather than discord, you are more likely to find a custody agreement that lasts. If you allow things to get bitter, there is more chance one party feels they lost and takes further legal action to rectify the situation. Here are some things to bear in mind when seeking a happy custody arrangement:
- Your child wants to spend time with both of you: You might feel your spouse is annoying, inept or worse, yet your child does not. Unless there is a danger to the child, a court will want both parents to spend time with their child as that is what kids want and need.
- You will need to adjust your schedule: When you make the agreement, accept that you may need to make minor modifications at times. For instance, if you have a meeting, you may need to pick your child up late. If your spouse has an exam, they may require you to look after your child for the weekend while they study. Making allowances and helping each other out will help your child. Being persnickety or refusing to vary from the schedule will not.
Divorce allows you and your spouse to move on from your inability to function as a couple and concentrate on being co-parents. How you go about the legal process will make a big difference to how easy the future is.