Are you stressed about your divorce and the impact it is having on your relationship with your child? This is completely normal. After all, most divorces, even those that end amicably, are fraught with tension that isn’t resolved simply by obtaining a divorce decree. Instead, parents have to work together as their child grows up, seeking out arrangements that works for them and, more importantly, their child.
If that sounds difficult, you’re not alone. In fact, disputes over child custody and visitation are quite common. However, you may be able to avoid conflict and obtain reasonable resolutions to your disagreements if you consider following these steps as laid out by professionals in the field:
- Stay healthy: Sure, this can refer to your physical health, but it can also pertain to your mental well-being. Make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you can be the best parent you can be for your child
- Be mindful of your situation: Recognize the reality you and your child are facing and be realistic about any potential child custody or visitation arrangements. Don’t seek more visitation than you can realistically maintain, otherwise it will look bad on you and potentially damage your relationship with your child.
- Obey court orders: Don’t stray away from the current court order. Doing so will only lead to more legal trouble down the road and, potentially, a child custody modification that is not in your favor.
- Be creative: Think of ways to maximize your child’s contact with the non-custodial parent if it’s in his or her best interest. Virtual visitation, frequent phone calls, and even letter writing can be great ways to maintain contact while building a meaningful relationship.
- Be open and honest: Don’t try to hide things from your child’s other parent, as doing so can backfire significantly, hurting your child and your relationship with him or her. Instead, be open and communicative so that you and your child’s other parent can problem-solve any child-related issue that may come your way.
- Be generous: Be willing to give the other parent more time with your child. This will likely be paid in return, and your child will probably be grateful for the opportunity to further build upon his or her relationship with the other parent.
- Be understanding: Of course, you’re not always going to agree with your child’s other parent, but try to see things from his or her perspective. This might allow you to resolve disputes in an amicable fashion without the need for the court’s intervention
These steps won’t prevent all child custody-related issues from arising, and they probably shouldn’t. Some disputes are simply too big and too important to be resolved outside of a courtroom. If you find yourself confronting one of these issues, then you should carefully consider whether you would benefit from legal assistance.