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How to Prepare For a Child Custody Negotiation

Published September 16, 2020
Child custody negotiations can be tense and contentious, so it’s a good idea to understand what to expect from the process. The more you can collaborate with your spouse, and the more you can focus on the needs of your child, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve a satisfying outcome.

The divorce process is often messy, especially if there are children involved. As you think about what your future will look like after the divorce is finalized, you must also consider how your child will be impacted by the separation. Arguments over child custody arrangements can quickly turn contentious and even hostile, so it’s helpful to prepare yourself for how you will approach these negotiations. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorney will give you the support and guidance you need during this trying time, and you can discuss a sound strategy for achieving a child custody arrangement that is best for your child.

Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

It’s understandable that going through a divorce can be an emotional process, especially when it comes to determining how much time you will be able to spend with your child each week. Keep in mind that if both you and your ex immediately seek sole custody, it’s highly likely that you’ll end up embroiled in a long and expensive legal battle in court. If there is any possibility for you and your ex to have a civil and constructive conversation about your child’s future, you increase the likelihood of arriving at a fair child custody agreement that you both approve of. Additionally, by working together with your lawyer, your spouse, and their attorney through mediation, you can avoid the stress and high cost of going to court. Remember that no one expects you and your ex to be warm or friendly to one other—as long as you can keep an open mind and work together productively, you should be able to reach an equitable agreement.

Engage in Some Self-Reflection

As you prepare for a new life after your divorce is over, you’ll want to take some time to visualize how you can make space for your child in this new living situation. If you are moving to a new home or apartment, make sure that your child can participate in creating a new living space for themselves as well. Invite your child to choose a paint color for the new room, or ask them to help you set up the kitchen and arrange their artwork on the fridge. The more you can involve your child in the transition into your new life, the more connected you will feel to one another. It’s also important to think about how you can create opportunities for your child to spend time with your ex—the more your child is able to forge meaningful relationships with each parent, the more secure they will feel, even if your family is no longer a single unit.

Putting Your Child First

It’s easy to become distracted by the stress of the divorce process, so don’t forget to check in with your child once in a while. Carve out some time to spend some quality time together—take a walk, bake together, or attend a sporting event where you can connect. While it can be hard to speak about your ex in a positive way, remember that this person is still your child’s parent, so maintain a neutral tone when their name comes up in conversation. Ultimately, the more you and your ex are able to focus on creating a child custody arrangement that ensures your child is safe, loved, and supported, the more empowered and confident you will all feel as you begin your newly independent lives.


Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. offers divorce and family law attorney services to clients in Portland and Vancouver. Reach out to our friendly office today at (503) 233-8868 to schedule an appointment with a dedicated and compassionate legal professional.

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