Getting to the end of all the negotiations that go into your child custody agreement and visitation schedule can seem like an immense relief. However, it doesn’t take much to end up back in family court arguing with your ex-spouse over a potential modification to the custody order.
Do you want to avoid that possibility as hard as you can? Here’s how to do it:
1. Remember that flexibility is a virtue
Your parenting and custody agreement is likely hammered out down to the last detail. You can treat it as if it were an unbreakable edict if you want — but if you occasionally show some flexibility and kindness about the schedule to your ex, you may find yourself granted the same in return. For example, are your ex-spouse’s parents coming into town on “your” weekend with the kids? Agreeing to switch weekends so they can visit could make everyone happier (including your kids) and give you a bankable favor for the future.
2. Try to find a united front on the big issues.
You and your ex may not agree on much, but you both probably want the best for your children. Have a united agreement regarding the big issues: school, discipline, friends, health habits, morals and extracurricular activities. The kids will have a more secure sense of being if you have similar expectations in both households.
3. Don’t try to control your ex’s parenting time
Okay, you don’t allow the kids to stay up one minute past bedtime, but your ex-spouse will extend them the time if there’s a really good movie on. Don’t argue about it. Unless your child’s safety is at risk, what happens at your ex’s house when it’s his or her time with the kids is not really your concern.
4. Don’t trash your ex on social media
Ever. This means even if your ex has done something awful. You never, ever, want to post anything you don’t want to hear read aloud in family court, in front of a judge.
5. Obey your custody orders
Too many parents treat their custody orders as if they’re optional. Family court orders are still legal orders. Show them the respect they deserve, or you could lose your privileges.
If something happens and there truly seems no way out of the situation except through a modification to custody, talk to an attorney today.