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Best interests for parents in child custody disputes

Last week we talked about the best interests of the child and how one court decided a custody issue involving divorcing parents who had quarreled during the bulk of their time together. Some couples do not have a similar history, but when the marriage relationship breaks down disputes may begin to arise. That may be especially true when children are involved and a couple heads to family court for a divorce.

Emotions can run high—but, many commentators say that it is important for parents to consider the best interests of the child in child custody issues—even outside of the court provisions. While many divorcing parents can face strong emotions during and after a contested divorce, there are many things a parent can do to ease the tension.

Parents often can develop some animosity toward an estranged spouse, feel a sense of grief, sadness and experience other emotional issues—but, those adult issues do not need to get in the way of considering the child (or children). The idea here is that most parents continue to hold a deep love for their children—an issue at odds with potential emotions against an estranged spouse.

There are several general ideas that may help a divorcing parent in keeping the best interests of the child in mind—even during a contested child custody dispute, according to commentators. A big step is to avoid playing the blame game. Seeking to assign blame can lengthen and deepen disputes during a divorce. The blame game essentially can get in the way of reaching a settlement that is truly in the interests of the child in many divorces. There may be times when true issues should be raised, but a family law attorney can assess those situations on an individual basis.

Custody disputes are determined in the child’s interests—to maintain the well-being of the child. A child custody dispute generally should not be resolved solely by what works best for the convenience of the parents. When divorced parents put down each other in front of the kids, the comments can reflect upon the children in a sense. Children essentially know that they are a part of each parent, and the kids may internalize the negative comments against a parent.

Keeping an open mind and acknowledging that change has occurred are also important things to consider. Each spouse will have a different life post-divorce. That does not necessarily have to mean that the change must have an adverse impact upon the kids.

Source: Fox News, "4 tips for parents going through divorce," Tina Paone and Thomas Petrelli, Apr. 21, 2013

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