It’s ironic how the most sensitive part of a divorce or separation is fought most aggressively. We are indeed talking about child custody and visitation rights. Parents often file for joint or sole custody. But, in either cases, the battle or in polite terms the discussion that ensues is bitter, rid with accusations and can impact your child, extremely negatively.
It’s not a blanket judgment, that all separating couples fight bitterly for custody and in the process end up hurting the child and damaging his ideas and perceptions of relationships.
However, the ugly truth is, this is the scenario between most couples. If you are separating from, or divorcing your partner, among the many things you will fight for – will be for your child or children. However, it is absolutely imperative to fight the child custody battle in a dignified and mature manner where your child will not feel hurt, humiliated, coerced or victimized.
Here are some key fundamentals to take account of when you are fighting the dreaded custody war.
Consider Your Situation Before Demanding Sole Custody
As a parent, you may believe that you and only you can take the best care of your child, provide her or him with all that they want, and give them a good life. But, it is important to take a good reality check before you fight for sole custody. Ask yourself if you pragmatically are equipped to take such a big responsibility. Question your finances, your sense of responsibility.
Introspection is important when you are deciding on such a significant manner. There are situations and understandably so, when your heart rules over your mind. You may feel that your ex cheated on you inspite of the kids. There is no way such a man or woman could take care and be fair to the kids. However, that may not be such a good rationale after all, especially if your ex has been an actively involved, and caring parent.
Learn to keep your marital equation separate from the parental equation your spouse shares with the children. Be unbiased and decide what’s best for your child’s interests when deciding on custody.
Display a Pro Family Behavior
A pro family behaviour is suggested not just for winning the custody, but also to actually keep your family, and especially your children safe, secure and stable during a tough period of their lives.
What exactly is pro family behaviour? It is a known fact that both parents play equally strong and important roles in the upbringing of a child. This fact does not really change during marital discord or separation. If you as a parent manage to grasp this very important, point putting aside your biases and prejudices, you will display a pro-family behavior.
When you show willingness to co-operate with your ex, you send across the message in a legal setting that you are willing to take any steps required to ensure the best for your children, even if it involves co-operating with your ex.
Equal parenting opportunities and relatively flexible visitation rights, to ensure your spouse plays an equally important role in your child’s life displays a pro family attitude and behaviour. It also shows that you will not be an obstruction between the children and the other parent. This makes you not just a better parent to win custody, but actually a better parent.
Don’t be a Soloist in Custody Decisions
This may sound counter intuitive, but unless there is serious violence, sexual assault, or damaging addiction charges against your spouse, aggressive and soloist child custody litigation can actually go against you. Child custody is a complicated process, and when you try to severe all rights of the other parent by opting for complete legal or physical custody or both, your child may face severe emotional issues.
Have a heartfelt conversation with your child first regarding what he or she wants to do, and what are their reasons behind it. Don’t trivialize your child’s feelings by thinking them as incapable of making their own decisions. Children are as conscious and careful as us, and during turbulent times are capable of sometimes showing a more balanced response than adults.
Talk to them. Discuss openly custody options with your former spouse and your respective attorneys. There are multiple type of custody options ,from joint and sole legal custody to joint and separate physical custody, bird’s nest custody and of course visitation conditions.
Normalcy will never be restored in your or your child’s life if you adopt a soloist approach when it comes to child custody.
Be Your Child’s Support System
Be your child’s emotional and physical anchor. Your children will have questions, you will have to answer them with as much honesty and dignity you can without giving out the gory details. Speaking in a derogatory manner about your ex during the divorce process and custody proceedings will shut your kids up completely. Don’t do that. Don’t crumble their sense of self and all trust equations. Don’t reverse roles and make them your emotional anchors.
Continue to parent well, don’t go all lenient or harsh on them. Give them some time to process and grasp what is really happening. Talk to them. Make them feel secure and safe and that you know what you are doing. Your confident approach will instill confidence in them too. When you cope well with your demons, you help them cope better with theirs too. Consequently they have more well adjusted and happier lives.
Have Honest Communication With Your Child Custody Lawyer
Legal aspects need to be dealt with putting aside the emotional tangles. You will need someone who can act as a counselor and guide during this difficult period. An expert, sharp, but empathetic child custody lawyer will make the process a lot simpler for you.