There are many issues you have to contend with during the divorce process. The Philly Voice recently ran a column about how alimony is generally the most contentious issue in a divorce. While determining alimony does usually take up a lot of time in court, there is another issue you need to be ready for: child custody.
If you and your spouse have children, then you will need to figure out how much time the kids spend with each parent and how you will coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups. This is an emotional issue for both parents because they both want as much time with the kids as possible. Before you first step foot in court, you should try to work out an arrangement with the other parent so you do not spend as much time arguing in a courtroom. Here are some steps that can help you accomplish that.
Only focus on essential information
When you meet to discuss child custody, you should bring some information with you. You should have your work schedule and a timetable of how much each parent generally currently spends with each child. You do not have to bring up non-essential information, such as whether one spouse cheated on the other because that will likely not come into play.
Consider the needs of the children
If one parent plans on moving to the next town over while the other parent remains close to the kids’ schools, then it may be prudent for the latter parent to have more custody. Both parents need to consider what is best for the children’s development. Keeping things as much of the same as possible helps greatly.
Use precise wording
As you draft the arrangement, pay attention to your word choices. You need to lay out specifically what times and days the kids will spend with each parent. Saying “The father gets custody every other weekend” remains open to interpretation. For the father, the weekend could begin Friday morning. You need to be exact.