Even parents who are divorcing but able to work together amicably often find that reaching an agreement about child custody is difficult. For those whose relationships are contentious, resolving disagreements about child custody usually proves to be that much more difficult.
As you navigate your divorce and the process of reaching a child custody arrangement with your spouse, here are seven tips to keep in mind–
- Know the Law
One of the best things that you can do if you are negotiating a child custody arrangement is to familiarize yourself with child custody laws in Massachusetts. This way, in the event that an out-of-court arrangement cannot be reached, you’ll have a better understanding of how the courts will make a decision. You can learn more online at Mass.gov.
- Work with a Mediator
You and your spouse don’t have to reach a child custody arrangement on your own – you can work with a skilled mediator who can help by facilitating the discussion. A mediator isn’t responsible for taking sides; rather, a mediator can help you and your spouse approach the discussion in a way that is calm and considers each person’s perspective.
- Be Flexible
It can be extremely trying to do, but being flexible is of the utmost importance. Remember, your spouse loves your child just as much as you do, and wants what’s best for your child, too. Don’t think about yourself; instead, think about your child’s best interests and be flexible and willing to compromise.
- Consult with a Professional
Sometimes, working with a professional can prove helpful. For example, you may consider meeting with your child’s teachers or a school counselor, or a professional child psychologist, to develop a better understanding of what may be best for your child. In addition, during the divorce process or after a divorce, some parents find that seeing a Family Therapist is helpful.
- Keep the Peace
The most important thing that you and your spouse can do when negotiating a child custody arrangement is to commit to maintaining peace between the two of you, especially in front of your child. Do not badmouth the other parent, and remember that it’s important to encourage your child to have a relationship with your spouse, regardless of how hurt or angry you are.
- Prioritize Listening
A great skill in negotiations of any type is that of being willing and able to listen. Try to really hear what your spouse is saying and make an effort to understand what their needs are. Having empathy can go a long way in terms of maintaining your composure and being willing to compromise.
- Work with a Qualified Divorce and Family Law Attorney
Regardless of how well you and your spouse are able to work together to reach a child custody arrangement, you should always work with a qualified divorce and family law attorney. Your divorce lawyer can advise you, represent your best interests, and review an agreement to ensure it is legal and fair.
At the office of Heather Ward Law, our Boston divorce lawyer is ready to talk with you today. Please send us a message, or call us directly at (617) 903-8955 to learn more about how we can help.