parents with childrenThis is the next post in my series discussing issues a spouse may wish to consider prior to filing for divorce. My last post dealt with the topic of considerations a man or woman may have if a partner in the marriage has health concerns that are dependent on insurance coverage, or if a spouse requires a caretaker. In this article I will be discussing one of the most common issues in family law– custody arrangements for the children.

The divorce transition will go smoother if a parent can provide a realistic plan for sharing custody

The majority of states will favor a shared custody plan, provided that both parents are active and able figures in their child(s) life. However, each custodial plan can look wildly different, and will depend on a number of factors including where each parent lives, each parent’s work schedules, either parent’s ability to provide a structure for the children, etc. When two parents go their separate ways, the priority is often figuring out what is in the children’s best interests and how to disrupt their lives as little as possible. Considering the logistics prior to filing can help both parents come to an amicable solution.

Considerations a parent may wish to make prior to filing for divorce include, where will the children live in the short term? Will one parent be able to stay in the current family home? Do both spouses have work and family in the area, and are both parents likely to stay in their current city? Immediate issues such as where the children will live, which spouse will be expected to move out, and if both spouses are likely to stay in the area should be considered. The spouse who is filing may wish to consider each person’s work schedules, along with the logistics of how the kids get to school, what activities they have etc. A spouse may be able to sketch out a rough custody schedule to present to their co-parent, in order to show how the children can be shared, and how each partner can have quality time with their kids.

If a parent believes sole custody is appropriate, they should be prepared to present their reasoning

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why joint custody may not be an appropriate plan. At times, primary custody is the only option, with one spouse receiving visitation. If this is the case, and the filing spouse believes their partner may contest the issue, they should be prepared to present their attorney with a list of reasons why primary custody would be best. Logistical reasons for primary custody may include one spouse travels work often, or work hours in which they are not able to be present to care for the children. Other reasons might include a spouse has an alcohol or drug problem that would interfere with safely caring for minors, or that there is domestic violence in the home. If coming to a custody arrangement will be contentious, one should present their attorney with a strong list of facts–preferably that can be supported with documents– to help make their case.

Breaking up a family is a very difficult decision. It is likely that one who is thinking of leaving their marriage may go back and forth on their decision. Visualizing what life will look like once you have left, and what it will look like for your kids can help make the transition easier. Pre-divorce coaching can help one talk through what life will look like for their family post-divorce, and can help troubleshoot problems that might arise. Divorce is never easy, but by preparing for likely scenarios to the best of your ability, it can be made easier. If you believe divorce coaching is right for you, contact my office today. All sessions are done virtually and I accept clients from all fifty states.