Child custody can be heavily contested during divorce or separation. Besides involving the welfare of the child, it could also mean appearing before the judge. This explains why most couples ask whether they can reach a custody settlement out of court.
Generally, divorce courts prefer situations where parents, on their own accord, work out a custody and parenting plan that works for the children. For this to happen, both parties must take the following proactive steps:
Listen more, argue less
Listening is, perhaps, one of the most overlooked skills while negotiating custody and parenting plans. It is not uncommon for each parent to have ideas and opinions regarding what they believe to be the best interests of the child. Others come to the negotiation table with pre-informed opinions regarding the other parent’s fitness for custody. However, being open to the other party’s input and ideas can help you reach a settlement that takes the child’s best interest into account.
Be realistic in your expectations
It is very unlikely that everyone will have their way during the custody negotiations. Being ready to make concessions is key to creating a custody plan that will put your child’s best interests and needs first. Never come to the custody negotiation table with a winner-takes-all mindset.
Keep your emotions under control
Divorce and everything associated with it is an emotional process. However, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind while negotiating a custody plan is ensuring that your emotions do not get the better of you. Both you and your ex need to understand that your relationship has moved from a romantic relationship to one that strictly focuses on your child’s wellbeing.
Reaching a child custody settlement takes deliberate effort from both parties. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while negotiating child custody and parenting plans out of court.