Choosing to divorce is rarely easy, especially when there are children involved. For many couples divorcing in the Everett area, military service also plays a large part in the divorce, which can complicate child custody issues even further.
If you are unfamiliar with the divorce process, you may have many fears over what to expect and how to protect your rights as an individual and as a parent. These are reasonable fears, because without a strong strategy heading into your divorce, you may lose many of your most important priorities.
When it comes to child custody, you must carefully examine your own circumstances and the needs of your child. Courts prefer for parents to work out a fair custody agreement between themselves. The agreement must represent the best interests of the child, not necessarily the preferences of the parents.
Assessing your child’s best interests
Each child is different and has their own set of needs. A court is most likely to approve a custody agreement that represents the best life for the child in question, so it is unwise to use custody conflicts as a way to punish your child’s other parent. Although it is common for parents to disagree strongly over how a child should be raised, courts do not look kindly on parents using children as negotiating chips.
If your child has specific health or developmental needs, your custody plan must address these. You should also consider the community that the child needs and how they can stay best connected to that community.
Relationships outside of the immediate family may also play a large role, especially if extended family and community help make childcare needs possible.
Protecting your own interests
Your child’s best interests are central to a strong custody plan, but you must also consider your own rights and privileges. If you do not build a strong legal strategy before you sit down at the negotiation table, then you may end up with significantly fewer privileges and less parenting time than you want or deserve.
Take care to use all the legal resources and guidance available to protect yourself and the child you love. A clear plan helps you keep your priorities in focus and allows you to identify major conflicts before they arise. Wherever you are in your divorce, don’t wait any longer to keep your rights secure and the interests of your child protected.