Most children want to continue spending time with both parents after a divorce. There will be exceptions, such as if one parent was violent or abusive. Yet, in most cases, it is the child’s wish and is in the child’s best interests to continue to see both parents.
Unless there is a valid reason for your child not to see the other parent, it helps if you think about custody as a negotiation, not a battle. You need to find an outcome that works for you, the other parent, and your child. The best way to do this is to put your child center stage and run everything through the filter of “what is best for our child” rather than each parent seeking what is best for them.
Courts Consider the Child’s Best Interests When Awarding Custody
Judges in child custody cases prioritize the child’s best interests, so if you can do that as parents, it will make the process more straightforward.
Here are two areas where it can be challenging to put your child’s interests first:
- Time: The thought of being apart from your child can be distressing. Yet, the child has two parents, so if you as parents can no longer live together, you will have to allow your child to split their time between you.
- Money: Viewing paying child support as paying money to the other parent makes it hard to accept. Instead, try to picture it as ensuring your child has what they need wherever they are. Equally, if you seek payment from the other parent, make sure they have enough left to look after the child well when they are together. If you seek every last penny, that will hurt your child as well as your ex.
Focusing on what is best for your child can help remove the conflict from child custody and child support negotiations. Understanding how the law views the situations can help you focus on a realistic outcome.