Divorcing parents often worry their children will feel responsible for what happened, and custody disputes can add to this worry. When children are at the center of a custody conflict, they may feel as though they are at fault for what is happening.
Working to resolve custody matters with a balanced perspective can make the situation much easier for parents and children. Here are some tips that can help divorcing parents navigate disagreements about custody.
Avoid using child support as a motivating factor
In custody hearings, courts typically do not like to hear parents justify their position by pointing to the implications that a specific custody arrangement would have on child support. Financial considerations about custody may be relevant, but creating the impression that receiving payments or evading support obligations is a motivating factor could lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Do not force children to take sides
Parents should definitely be considerate about their children’s preferences and concerns about which parent they’ll be with most of the time. However, parents should take care to avoid pressuring their children for support. Treating children’s desire to spend time with another parent as an act of betrayal is likely to be hurtful and distressing to them.
Leave anger out of it
Any hostility that divorcing spouses have over the breakdown of a marriage should not affect how they interact when they discuss custody arrangements. Focusing on the children rather than litigating grievances from the marriage will support constructive dialogues.
Ultimately, working cooperatively to reach compromises and practicing good communication can diffuse tension and conflict in child custody disputes.