Deciding how you and your child's other parent will share parenting duties and privileges after your marriage or partnership ends can certainly feel overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed by such a scenario, you should know that you are absolutely not alone.
For many parents, this struggle makes it very difficult to maintain a healthy perspective on what life looks like on the other side of a custody dispute, or what the child at the center of the conflicts really needs.
As much as it pains a parent to admit, the custody arrangement that best fits one parent's preferences may not actually be the arrangement that is best for the child. It takes a strong parent, often with the guidance of someone with experience in custody agreements, to seek what is truly best for the child in a custody conflict.
If you truly want the best for your child, you should consider consulting with a custody attorney. Proper legal counsel from an attorney who understands the full scope of the matter can help you make parenting agreements that stand the test of time and focus on your child's wellbeing.
Which factors should I consider?
Determining what is truly best for a child is a complex process. If you are even asking this question instead of simply going to battle to retain every inch of your parental rights, then there is a good chance that you have the heart of a parent who can truly care for a child.
Some of the factors that a parent should consider when approaching a custody negotiation involve the overall quality of life that each parent offers. Also, it is worth considering how feasible it is to share custody of your child with the other parent. If both of you continue to live in the same area, a joint custody arrangement can be a helpful way for both parents to continue investing in the child's life. Furthermore, later on down the road, you may treasure the fact that you have regular time with your child but also regularly have time to yourself. This idea rarely occurs to parents in the middle of custody disputes.
Ultimately, you want to create a parenting plan that considers all sides of what your child needs and how to best suit those needs.
This might include:
- Social and schooling needs
- Medical needs
- Cultural needs
- Nutritional needs
These are very broad categories, but each family's approach differs slightly and no custody arrangement fits everyone.
Does either parent pose a threat?
Another factor that you must consider when pursuing a custody agreement is the safety of the child. While a parent's rights and privileges toward interaction with the child are important, they are not more important than the child's safety.
If either parent's actions or lifestyle are potentially (or demonstrably) harmful to the child, the parenting plan should reflect this. You must fight to create the safest environment available for the child to grow within.
It is not always simple to know how to create a safe and effective custody plan. With proper legal counsel from an experienced attorney, it is possible to create a plan that considers every aspect of your parenting strengths and needs to serve the best interests of the child you love.