Are you getting divorced from your spouse, but you both have kids together? You'll need to figure out a custody agreement before you can move forward with making your divorce official. Here are some tips that will help you come up with a new custody plan that can work for everyone.
One big aspect that will be debated in mediation is visitation. It is common for a child to primarily live with one of their parents, while the other has visitation rights. There are a lot of things to consider when coming up with a visitation plan.
Always keep your child's schedule in mind and what is going to work best for them. For example, if they are currently going to school it may work best to decide on a schedule where visitation primarily happens on the weekend. Weekday visitation may be too hard to cram in when you consider getting how from work, homework, and the early bedtimes that children tend to have.
You should also make a visitation schedule for handling major holidays. You and your spouse will likely want to visit the family with the children during these times, which can cause arguments about which family your children visit. Consider a holiday schedule where you alternate major holidays, and then flip them next year. This means taking Thanksgiving and giving up Christmas, but getting the opposite visitation schedule the following year.
Know that circumstances will change over the years, and it is normal to make modifications to your custody agreement. It's important to know that major changes must be approved by a family court since the will look at the modifications that you want to make and determine if they are in the child's best interest.
Some states require you to have a special hearing to present custody modification changes. You'll actually present your case to the judge about why a modification will be necessary based on how circumstances have changed. If the judge accepts the changes, it won't be easy to switch back to the way things were. You must put some serious thought into any custody modification request, and realize that the changes may end up being permanent.
Looking for more advice on figuring out custody arrangements? Work with a local divorce attorney in your area for assistance. A lawyer can help you design a custody plan that will be approved by the courts.