Divorce is an overwhelming, emotional experience, not only for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse but for your children as well. There are just dozens of financial details to take care of, including joint assets, debts, and child support. Custody is also one of those thorny issues that most couples face when filing for a divorce. Bad blood can get in the way and make both parties act irrationally without thinking about what is best for their kids. However, custody battles are usually not the best option, considering how long-winded, not to mention emotionally and financially taxing, they can be. So, why not try to solve things amicably instead? If you are interested in knowing how you can achieve this, check out the next few tips.
Forgo Sole Custody
If you truly want to avoid getting embroiled in a long, complex custody battle, then sole custody is not a valid option. In most cases, getting sole custody of one’s children requires you to prove that your ex-spouse is unable to properly take care of them by submitting evidence of their incompetence. This, without a doubt, can turn ugly pretty quickly, especially if the other party is unwilling to go down without a fight.
It is important to remember to keep any bitterness on the back burner and not jump to hasty conclusions. It does not mean that your ex is a bad parent just because they were not the most attentive partner in the world. If you are truly willing to make it work, you must consider joint custody because it is usually the best way to settle custody issues outside of court. The bottom line is that you should not let your own feelings get in the way of doing what is right for your children.
Hire a Lawyer
Since it can be hard to stay impartial when you are basically viewing your ex as the enemy, it is often a good idea to involve a third party. If you and your ex-partner are planning to share the custody of your kids, the best thing to do is to hire a family law attorney. The seasoned attorneys from BTL Family Law firm in Scottdale point out that having expert legal help by your side throughout the process can help you reach an agreement that is suitable for all parties involved. Nonetheless, you must understand that your lawyer cannot read your mind, so you need to be upfront and very specific about what you want to be included in the agreement. This entails setting a plan for special occasions like birthdays and vacations and specifying how many days the children will spend with each of their parents.
Even though you may think that you know what is best for them, you must not disregard how your kids feel. If they are old enough to make informed decisions, let them help you come up with the terms of the agreement. After all, the matter concerns them just as much as it concerns you.
Try Mediation or Arbitration
If you have reached a stalemate with your ex and do not think that hiring a lawyer is the best course of action right now, you have other options to choose from, namely mediation and arbitration. For parents that simply need a nudge in the right direction, mediation usually garners satisfying results. To begin the process, you must notify your former spouse in writing of your desire to seek the help of mediation. Once they respond in kind, you will have a few 2–3-hour meetings with a third party, the mediator, where you can openly discuss what you want to achieve at the end of the process. By having this information, the mediator will then enable you to communicate better with your former partner to reach a middle ground.
On the other hand, if you favor a process that concludes in a legally binding decision, you should opt for arbitration. You can think of arbitration as a mix of mediation and traditional court proceedings, albeit less formal. In this case, the arbitrator functions as a judge and takes note of the documents and evidence represented to make a final decision. Both parents must then comply with the ruling.
Ending a marriage, especially one that has lasted for years, is incredibly hard. However, it can be the fresh start you have been longing for. If you have children, fighting a long custody battle with your former spouse is certainly not going to help you stay on good terms with them, which is why you should look for alternative options. These include joint custody, arbitration, and mediation. When in doubt, always consult a family law specialist to find a suitable solution that caters to the unique needs of your family.