Getting a divorce is difficult and emotional undertaking. But perhaps even more challenging than separating ways is determining who will have custody of the children. Not only can a custody decision be trying for couples to reach, but it could even be contentious.
Why a Contentious Custody Battle Should Be Avoided
Persistent, unresolved conflict between parents can be damaging for a child. Parental conflict can lead to child distress, which may present itself in the form of anxiety, sadness, difficulty sleeping, bedwetting (in young children), aggression, hostility, academic setbacks, social withdrawal, and even long-term attachment and relationship issues.
While some conflict is both expected and normal, persistent conflict or conflict that is especially intense can have long-term repercussions.
How to Mitigate Contention During a Custody Determination
Clearly, doing everything you can to mitigate conflict with your spouse is ideal for your child. Some steps you can do take to pursue amicable resolution include:
- Stop using the world custody “battle.” When you think of a custody determination as a “battle,” you automatically set you and your spouse apart and create an assumption that you’ll need to fight to win.
- Think of your spouse as a parent, just like you. As a parent, you understand the special connection that a parent has with their child, and how much any parent would want to preserve that. If you remember that your spouse is a parent just like you, it may help to empathize with their desires and approach negotiations from a more collaborative stance.
- Think of your child. Remember, the most important party in a custody determination is your child; not you or your spouse. When you put your child first and focus on their needs, your goal becomes doing what’s best for the child, not what’s best for you.
- Try mediation. If you and your spouse are having a hard time reaching a child custody arrangement on your own, you should consider mediation. Mediation involves meeting with an unbiased mediator, who facilitates the conversation and helps you reach a decision that is fair.
- Be willing to compromise. If you go into the custody determination talks set on getting exactly what you want and nothing else, there will be little room for negotiation, and your spouse will automatically feel as though talking with you is pointless, putting them on the defensive. Have a clear picture of what you want, but also be willing to compromise for the sake of everyone involved.
- Leave your emotions out of it. Finally, try to leave your emotions out of it. This can be difficult to do – you are separating from your spouse for a number of reasons, and hurt feelings and anger may certainly be a part of that. But rather than focusing on how your spouse has wronged you and how badly you feel, try to approach the custody talks with a clear head.
Our Child Custody Lawyers Can Help
At the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., we understand the emotional nature of child custody determinations, and can represent you before things get ugly. To schedule a consultation with our Naperville team today, please send us a message or call us directly.