The law is clear on one aspect of all divorces involving children: The children’s needs have to be addressed first. What this means is that you need to do what is in the best interests of your children at all times. Whatever custody arrangements would be best for them should be implemented, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Similarly, your children need to live in the safest homes and environments available.
Putting your children first in divorce doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own needs addressed, but it does mean that you have to do what’s best for them before doing what’s right for yourself. Here are some helpful examples of what a court might expect parents to do for their children.
- Split custody in a fair way, so the children see their parents regularly
- Avoid fighting and arguing in front of the children
- Not making the children messengers and making sure to talk to the other parent directly about problems
- Choosing a custody schedule that their children can follow and predict rather than one that doesn’t suit their needs
- Deciding on a custody arrangement that puts the children closer to family, in a better school district or in overall better circumstances when possible
When parents are setting up custody arrangements, they often get into arguments. It can be hard to imagine not being with your children every day or having to adapt to a new schedule that doesn’t work well with your own.
To get through these challenges, it’s important to remember that you are not the only one dealing with these changes. Your ex will need to adapt, and your children will, too. While you’re an adult who can reason through the changes that have to occur, children may need more support. They’ll do better if you and the other parent are working together to make custody and parenting arrangements work.
You have the right to seek custody and parenting options that benefit your children
As a parent, you have the right to do what’s best for your children. Putting them first in your divorce will help you show that you’re willing to do what you can to protect them and make this situation easier on everyone.