Reaching a point in your married life, where the only way forward is to file for a divorce can be a flummoxing time, however, it only becomes much harder wherein children are involved. Dealing with child custody is additional stress that can be quite difficult to deal with, hence with the assistance of child custody solicitors to arrive at an arrangement that aims to attain the best-case scenario is a solution that one should consider.
Hence, here are 6 rules that you must follow, to cope with these times:
1) Arriving at a Formal Agreement: As general practice spouses undergoing a divorce are asked to arrive at a mutual agreement regarding custodial rules — aka a parenting plan. Child arrangement order solicitors can draft written documentation that can lay out the terms for decisions that concern the children.
An agreement becomes important since it will clearly list out various expectations and thus reduce any room for disagreements or conflict. Even for your child it becomes easier to demarcate what to expect in terms of clear roles as well as commitments that either of you will have, to avoid any future confusion.
2) Familiarizing Yourself With Variants of Child Custody: Talking about custody, as child custody solicitors will tell you — it generally alludes to all the rights you will have, to look after your children. There exist various kinds of custodial arrangements, hence you should familiarize yourself with them. Arrangements like legal custody or physical custody wherein decisions like where your child lives or who gets to take important calls, or where the partner would only be allowed visitation rights, are all things to educate yourself about. Other custodial arrangements such as sole custodial arrangement, joint custodial arrangement, split custodial arrangement, etc. are best to familiarize yourself with, with aid from divorce solicitor.
3) Be Thoroughly Prepared For Your Hearings: If no conclusive decision is arrived upon regarding custodial arrangement, your case will go to Family Court, in order to arrive at an arrangement wherein the child’s best interests are protected. Several factors will be looked into before any sort of decision – temporary or final is passed. Hence, ensuring that you are thoroughly prepared with the help of child custody solicitors is of utmost importance to help your case. Ranging from documentation to additional supportive evidence that could work in your favour, you must keep everything in order. Apart from this when presented in court, certain things that might be expected out of you which you need to be on top of include:
- Information about your daily schedule and the financial resources that can be expected to be provided to your children in the future.
- Providing documentation that can tell the court about personal finances along with employment standing.
If championing for yourself in court, do it rationally and in a crisp manner, listing the reasons why being given the responsibility of your child/children will be in their best interest.
4) Understanding What All the Visitation Rights Entail: In cases wherein, physical custody it’s not awarded to you, chances are that you would have visitation rights. Generally, the terms of this are decided upon by you and your spouse, however, if you are not able to do that a judge will do it for you. There is a clear demarcation between visitation rights and custody since visitation means that you will be able to meet your children and spend time with them though they might not be living with you. As child arrangement order solicitors will tell you, visitations are generally of two types that are supervised and unsupervised, wherein your spouse may or may not need to be present when you are spending time with your child. The best advice to give in such situations is that you must pay attention to whatever activity your child wants to do with you or tell you.
5) Always Be On Time and Deliver On Your Word: Regardless of whatever your child custody arrangements might be, the most important thing is to always show up on time and keep up your promises. Be it scheduled visits, hearings, school events, etc. you need to make sure that you are there. It is best that you keep all the expectations and promises realistic so that you can build upon trust and stabilize the upheaval that your child/children have been witnessing. Instead of trying to ply them with gifts, the most valuable but you have to offer as a parent in such trying times is being consistent and showing up always.
6) Having a Frank Conversation With Your Children: Even if you’re undergoing an amicable divorce, chances are that your children will not have much say in the process although they are the ones who get affected the most. This ends up causing them a lot of mental trauma, even if you make it clear that you both love them a lot. Hence, having a frank conversation regarding the divorce can aid in the transition phase for them. Be watchful about signs and triggers, that you feel they might be struggling with, and if need be, be ready to provide counselling from a professional. One crucial advice that we can give you as child custody solicitors is to never have negative things to say about the other parent, as this will only breed resentment. Be frank about the challenges, and let your child feel like he has a safe space to express all his fears and doubts. Having a positive, open approach will help in normalizing the new situation and help children come to terms with the divorce.
When talking about child custody during a divorce, the only thing that you as parents should be concerned about is the best interest of the child. You never want your child to feel like they are not important that you do not value them as much. Hence arriving at an amicable arrangement with the help of child arrangement order solicitors, that does not end up in a long drawn court battle is the best way to go forward.