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Child custody: What goes into a best interest determination?

| Jun 19, 2020 | Family Law |

Divorce can be a highly contentious process. In many cases, spouses fight over their property, their future support, and their children. This conflict oftentimes leaves important family matters in the hands of a judge who knows nothing about a family except what is presented to him or her in the form of evidence. This puts your family at risk of being subjected to court orders that don’t suit your needs or wishes.

If this cold approach leaves you feeling uncomfortable, then you should take comfort knowing that you don’t have to battle your way through divorce. Instead, you might be able to keep decision-making power where it belongs: with you and your spouse. Of course, you’re likely going to butt heads with your spouse even if you pursue divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. So, before engaging in the process you need to know how to successfully negotiate important legal matters with your spouse. Hopefully these tips will help.

  • Know what you want: Before negotiating, you need to have a firm grasp on your goals. Is it to secure financial stability in light of your inability to find work because you missed out on education and work experience while you helped raise your family? If so, then spousal support and child support might be your most important needs. As such, you need to understand the financial realities of your current situation, as well as what it will look like post-divorce. Also recognize that what you want and what you need are different.
  • Know what is important to your spouse: By doing so, you can spur productive conversations and hopefully achieve an outcome that is beneficial to everyone involved. It can also give you some leverage during negotiations so that you stand a better chance of acquiring what you want and need.
  • Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment: It’s easy to get upset and frustrated when dealing with divorce legal issues. Far too often people throw in the towel too early simply to avoid conflict, or they push too hard, thereby causing negotiations to stall or become vindictive. So, try to leave your emotions at the door while focusing on problem solving and coming up with amicable solutions.
  • Be creative: Hammering out a solution that works for you and your spouse might not be easy. You’ll need to be able to think outside the box, whether that pertains to property division or child custody. Try to think of alternative arrangements that still meet your goals. Knowing each party’s wants and needs can help here.
  • Know when to walk: Although you should hope to succeed during negotiations, you should know when your time is being wasted and when you have a better chance of obtaining a favorable outcome by taking the matter to court.
  • Have a plan: Don’t think that you can walk into negotiations and wing it. Doing so could be disastrous. Instead, have a clear strategy and stick to it. Not only will this protect you from accepting less than you deserve, but it can also decrease the stress associated with divorce talks.

Divorce doesn’t have to be a contentious process. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you should forego planning altogether. If you think you could benefit from legal guidance, then it might be time for you to discuss your case with an attorney who knows how to resolve these cases in a collaborative and amicable fashion while holding strong for his or her client’s interests.