When your kids learn you and your spouse are splitting up, one of their main concerns is where they are going to live. You are also likely concerned with how custody is going to work. If you are like most divorcing families, you will likely end up with some sort of joint custody or parenting plan. There may be days or weeks that you and your children will not see one another.
It can be intimidating and worrisome to create a custody arrangement, but it is easier than it seems. Here are some core factors to consider when creating a custody or visitation agreement.
Focus on what is best for your children
Sometimes, the things you want line up with the needs of your kids. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Family courts prefer some type of co-parenting arrangement. It is usually best for kids to maintain relationships with both their parents, as long as there is no violence, abuse or some other type of endangerment. The goals of your arrangement should be to reduce disruptions for your kids and allow time with both parents.
While you may feel the instinct to fight for what you want and never compromise, this usually does not work out. Some sort of trade-off is almost always necessary when it comes to custody decisions. Not only is this necessary during the process of creating the agreement, but also after. Sometimes, the plan on paper does not work out and needs some adjustments.
Understand your rights
You should keep in mind your rights to legal and physical custody. Legal custody means you have the ability to make choices about school, health care and religion. Physical custody refers to when you have your child with you. The agreement should clearly specify any changes that warrant a modification of the arrangement, such as a relocation.