One of the most difficult parts of divorce is making decisions about the custody of your children. A thousand questions are probably running through your head: Who will have them during the holidays? Where will they go after school? How will vacations be split?
With more than 1 million divorces filed in the U.S. each year, many people find themselves facing these heavy questions. Before you begin the process of answering them or creating a child custody agreement, here are three key things to keep in mind:
- Your needs aren’t the same as your child’s. If it were up to you, you’d have your child around as often as possible. But it’s probably in their best interest to spend time with their other parent as well. Every decision you make should be in the best interest of your child, and only your child. Keep their needs at the forefront of any decision you make.
- Your child’s stability comes first. Remember that your child is undergoing a major life change too. They are most likely confused, hurt and trying their best to adapt. Providing as much stability as possible for them is key right now. While you might want to start dropping them off at school even though your partner has done it for the past three years, consider your child’s perspective. Try not to make unnecessary changes to their routine.
- Your plan won’t always go smoothly. Creating a child custody agreement is hard work. Even after it’s complete, there will be occasional mistakes and misunderstandings. You might run late for a pickup or your partner might request extra time with your child. It’s important to remain flexible for your child’s sake and not show them any frustration that you may have.
A lot of effort and thought goes into a child custody agreement. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and keep these three considerations in mind as you begin tackling your child custody agreement.