When a couple decides to end their marriage, there are many issues that need to be reviewed and resolved. Of the many matters that have to be hashed out, those involving the children are the most important.  “Child Custody” is a term that is no longer in Arizona’s statutes.  However, we can think of this concept in two pieces: legal decision-making authority and parenting time. Avoiding the common pitfalls of child custody is of utmost importance. There are some things you can do, both during and after the divorce, to make custody issues less conflicted.

Put a Parenting Plan in Place

A parenting plan is an excellent tool for parents, as long as it is properly crafted and properly utilized. Parenting plans should be as detailed as possible in order to be effective. The plan should cover how all parenting issues are to be handled and it should become a resource guide for parents when making decisions after the divorce. A good parenting plan will help avoid potential pitfalls of child custody and will keep you from getting into battles with your ex over situations that have already been decided.

Respect Parental Rights

Research has found that the happiest and most well-adjusted children are those who spend quality time with both parents. Arizona has adopted policies which advance this goal, as well. While you may not be happy about the time your child spends with his other parent, keep in mind that it is necessary and healthy for your family. As much as you may dislike your former spouse, remember that he or she is still a parent to your child. Your child still needs to have parenting time, regardless of how difficult it may be for the parents.

Establish Communication

Many couples experience a serious communication breakdown during their marriage, as well as during the divorce process. In order to achieve a successful parenting partnership after divorce, good communication is essential. It is necessary to talk to each other on a regular basis to discuss the children. Lack of communication can lead to a serious disconnect between parents. Establish a weekly phone call or comprehensive email that allows you to talk about your kids, without having to rehash the relationship.

Get Legal Help

If a problem arises, it is best to try to resolve it as quickly as possible, for the sake of the children. Some dilemmas require assistance from a qualified family law attorney. For example, modifications may be needed to change the terms of the visitation schedule. These types of issues require legal help to sort out the situation and understand the available options.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Common Pitfalls of Child Custody, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Jonathan D. Brooks at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.