How to Create Successful Custody Arrangements-The Seven C’s
Once you bring your custody case to court for litigation, you can expect the end result to be a court order that you will be legally obligated to comply with until your child is eighteen.
If you want to create successful custody arrangements for your child, you will have to put forth some effort and be prepared to work with the other parent to reach an agreement.
Here are some things to consider as you make your custody arrangements (The Seven C’s):
Customization: Create a plan specifically for your child.
Your custody agreement should be as unique as your child is. Never feel as if you have to conform to accepting a standard custody plan or generic schedule.
The custody process is your opportunity to create custody arrangement specifically for your child. The most successful visitation schedules and custody agreement are ones that are customized to the specific needs of the child.
It may take a little more time and effort to create custom custody arrangements for your child but the results are well worth it.
Contemplation: Think about the needs of your child and anticipate how things will be in the future.
You will want to create a plan that is realistic and you will be able to follow. You should consider your work schedules and your child’s schedule and make a visitation schedule that will provide your child with quality time with both parents. It doesn’t make any sense to schedule visitation time when you know your child will be in daycare during that time.
You will also need to plan for the future. If you are making a custody plan for a school age child, you will want to include provisions for the needs of your child when she is a teenager. Thinking ahead will allow you to address future issues and find solutions before there is any conflict.
Concentration: Focus on the needs of your child and don’t leave anything out.
Your custody arrangements should include:
- A residential schedule
- A schedule for holidays and vacation times
- Provisions for legal custody and making major decisions for the child
- Provisions for raising the child apart, such as how to handle transportation and optional expenses
- Methods for reviewing and modifying the plan
- Methods for dispute resolution
Cooperation: Work together to reach an agreement.
A judge will generally approve any custody agreement that is agreed upon by both parents.
If parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court will create the custody arrangements for them.
It is always better to create your own agreement. This allows you to retain control of your child’s custody arrangements and to make a plan you are both satisfied with. Custody arrangements are easier to follow when you make them yourselves.
Communication: Listen to each other and keep each other informed.
Communication is so important when parents live apart. You will need to develop an effective method of communication if you want to have successful custody arrangements.
Some parents are able to talk in person or on the phone. Other parents may prefer to communicate in writing. The method you use to keep in touch isn’t important. Doing it is.
Can you imagine picking up your feverish child without having any idea as to when or if he was given Tylenol?
Communication is vital to the health and well-being of your child. Decide how you will communicate and include it in your plan.
Clarification: Know what your plan means.
If there are any portions of your custody agreement that are vague or could be interpreted more than one way, clarify them.
You can never have too many details in your custody agreement. If things aren’t clear, it could cause conflict in the future. Take the time to ensure your custody plan is clear, concise, and complete.
Consideration: Respect the other parent and your child.
Keep in mind that you are not the only parent. Both of you are equally important to your child and your child should be able to have a relationship with both of you without interference from either of you.
The sooner “my child” becomes “our child”, the better. You should always consider the feelings and rights of your child and your former spouse when making custody decisions.
You should also be considerate of your child’s feelings when speaking about your ex. You wouldn’t want someone talking bad about your mom or telling you what a jerk your dad is. If you must speak ill of the other parent, do it when your child is elsewhere.
Keep these “Seven C’s” in mind as you create your custody arrangements. Your diligence will be rewarded with a successful custody order that meets the needs of your child.