Divorce is stressful enough without you having to worry about problems arising in your co-parenting relationship. Whatever incidents or relationship problems may have prompted your decision to file for divorce, you no doubt want the entire process to cause the least disruption and upheaval possible in your children’s lives. Crafting a child custody plan that is fair and centrally focused on your children’s best interests may be less challenging if you keep several issues in mind.
No matter what you might have heard from friends and family who have gone through divorce, your co-parenting relationship need not be contentious and filled with legal problems. It’s often possible to devise a child custody agreement in a peaceful and amicable manner.
Approach child custody planning as a business transaction
In business, you don’t necessarily have to get along with or even like the parties with whom you’re negotiating in order to secure a fair and agreeable deal. By entering child custody negotiations with the same mindset, you may be able to avoid a lot of stress. Just because you don’t want to be married to your co-parent doesn’t mean you can’t discuss child-related issues in a respectful and business-like way.
By making up your mind ahead of time to try to avoid confrontation, you demonstrate that you’re willing to cooperate and compromise for your children’s sake. Data shows that children who witness their parents working together in a post-divorce relationship are better able to cope than kids constantly exposed to parental conflict.
Avoid venting to children or speaking negatively about the other parent
Even if it’s the only thing left that you and your ex have in common, you both love your children. Likewise, your children love both of you. Implementing your child custody plan may be less stressful if you and your co-parent agree to keep adult issues between adults and never to speak disparagingly about each other in front of the kids.
Keep clear lines of communication open, even if it’s not in person
North Carolina law allows you to customize your child custody agreement to fit your particular needs and family-related goals. The court makes its decisions or grants approval with children’s best interests in mind. You don’t have to live with your ex anymore, but you will have to correspond with regard to your children.
Communication must take place, but there is no rule stating that you have to meet in person to discuss child custody issues that arise after divorce. If you and your co-parent tend to argue when you see each other, you are free to limit your correspondence to text messaging, email, phone conversations or other means of communication.
Take one step at a time and know where to seek support
As you join the ranks of North Carolina parents who have recently navigated a divorce, you and your children will go through a period of adjustment together as you adapt to your new lifestyle. There’s no shame in asking for help when the going gets tough, especially if a legal problem arises that is causing stress or undermining your parental rights.
Your trusted friends, family members and the family justice system are all available to assist you and your children if a specific issue arises that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own.