Each and every family is special, their story unique and the exploration of resolutions for problems arising will differ from family to family. This means that parents seeking custody arrangements can be tough terrain to navigate. Approaching this can be overwhelming for a lot of families and because of the uniqueness of every situation we have detailed a parent’s guide to navigating custody arrangements and the necessary services families should seek to consider.
Navigating custody arrangements
There are a number of arrangements you can explore with each of these differing on a number of factors. When speaking with a child custody lawyer, it starts with the two main types of legal custody, which are; Sole Custody, this is when the court decides that only one parent has legal custody. The second is referred to as Joint Custody where parents share legal custody.
The legal system will always place the priorities of the children the highest and the outcome of custody is a reflection of what will be the best situation for children to grow up in.
This means that the legal process can be quite tricky and because of law changes between not only every country but rather every state, it is important that you understand there may be differences in the process based on the legal system.
The beginning of the legal process in Victoria, Australia works by developing a co-parenting plan. A co-parenting plan will establish everything from living arrangements and visiting schedules to finances and major decision-making over the child’s future. This makes the co-parenting plan important which we have gone into more detail below.
When you are in a position of navigating custody arrangements for your children you must understand that you will undergo a transformative approach to the relationship with your ex-partner.
This plan helps you establish that and also presents an opportunity for individuals to express feelings and specifics of the arrangement they feel comfortable with. It is best to start by establishing the rights and responsibilities of both parties, for example, a visiting schedule, decision-making guidelines and rules, living arrangements, and specific things a child needs that only one parent can provide.
Many ex-partners think they need to go to the courthouse immediately after getting a divorce however this is seen as more of a last resort. The co-parenting plan is always viewed as a starting point for a healthy breakup and exploration of custody arrangements. It allows both parents to put something on paper that they both agree on, it goes without saying that it may involve a degree of compromise, however, it is healthier to settle these arrangements in the living room than battle them out in court.
Talk to your Kids
Individuals that will find these arrangements the most challenging will be your children, therefore talking to your kids and getting them involved will relieve some of that stress for them. Allowing them to have some opinion or say of what has been arranged is important and will again, greatly assist in the transition.
Family Dispute Practitioner
Smooth co-parenting implementation is ideal however if you and your ex-partner cannot come to an agreement you can both seek the services of a family dispute practitioner.
This practitioner will offer an outsider’s opinion on valuable insight into what could be done for you to come to an agreement.
This part is key as further disagreement would lead to pursuing the case in court and this process can lead to even more stress in the family. Therefore making the most and listening in to what the resolution dispute practitioner has to say is imperative.
If you and your ex still cannot come to an agreement the next step of navigating custody arrangements would be to seek legal advice from a child custody lawyer. It is best to find a lawyer who is a specialist in this field of law and has plenty of experience in Family Law cases. Taking this entire process to court can be painful and insensitive as details about your personal life will be spoken openly in court. This can be difficult to take in for some and what you should be prepared for will be advised to you by your lawyer. Patience is also an important part here because arrangements of custody in court can undergo an extensive waiting period and can drag on for longer than one expects.
Ultimately there are a number of steps that will help you navigate the complexity of custody arrangements. Establishing a Co-parenting plan initially before seeking family dispute and legal services is the best way to begin. It is found that factors such as a living schedule, family time schedules, and parameters around big decisions are the best places to start. And remember, talk to your kids, they will contribute so much value to finding a working solution.