No matter the circumstances of a divorce between parents, the topic of child custody tends to be highly contentious. Things usually get tougher if the parents are not getting along. However, it is important to remember that any child custody agreement you arrive at must, first and foremost, take into account the child’s best interests.
It is not uncommon for tempers to flare while negotiating a child custody arrangement. Here are three child custody negotiation mistakes that you need to be aware of and avoid:
1. Refusing to compromise
It is important to appreciate that child custody negotiation is an opportunity for both parents to put their self-interests aside and come up with an arrangement that best addresses their child’s best interest. This is not the moment to “flex muscles” or take hardline stands. Any acts that are not indicative that you are acting in the child’s best interest will certainly come back to haunt you. Just avoid them.
2. Not documenting everything
Have you agreed on how you will share custody of your child? Write it down. Have you agreed on the child support amount and arrangement? Put it down on paper. Remember, “it did not happen if it was not written!”
Verbal agreements about custody issues and support mean nothing when it comes time to make things official. All agreements should go through your legal counsel and be in writing.
3. Ignoring existing court orders
If the court has issued an order – even a temporary one – that addresses custody, child support or visitation, it is important that both parties abide by the terms of these orders. Failing to comply with an existing court order can result in you being held in contempt of court, and this can greatly hurt your custody case.
These are some of the mistakes you need to avoid while negotiating a child custody arrangement with the other parent.