Negotiations over delicate matters like asset division and alimony often become heated when couples in California and around the country choose to end their marriages, but cooler heads usually prevail even in the most acrimonious of divorces when the issues being discussed are child custody and visitation. Divorced parents who agree on very little will for the most part desire what is best for their children, and accepting that their former spouses mean well and act with the best of intentions plays an important role in achieving this goal.
Bitter child custody disputes are becoming rarer as more and more research points to co-parenting as the best solution for the children of divorce. When divorcing parents are embroiled in conflict, children may be able to manipulate them to get what they want. However, these problems can often be avoided when rules are consistent and discipline is meted out by both parents. Seeing parents cooperate and act responsibly also sets a good example for children that can pay dividends later in life.
Just as children fare better when they know what is expected of them, divorced spouses may be able to avoid common pitfalls when clear parenting rules have been established. Putting these rules in place can prevent children being dragged into domestic disputes to act as as sounding boards or messengers, but making these guidelines too rigid can be counterproductive as parents who feel overly restricted may be forced to look for loopholes.
Experienced family law attorneys may urge their divorce clients to reach an amicable settlement whenever possible, and discussing child custody and visitation early in negotiations could lay the foundation for calm and productive talks when more contentious issues are raised. When an agreement remains elusive, attorneys may suggest approaching sensitive topics from the less adversarial and more cooperative direction of divorce mediation.