Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Child custody: Always do what's best for your kids

Your divorce is a traumatic time for you, but it is also going to be a time of big changes for your children. This can be hard to deal with because you want your children to have a happy life that is filled with security and love. During the divorce, you are going to have to make a concerted effort to make this happen.

Keeping your children protected might be easier if you and your ex can get along and agree on what's best for the kids. If there is a time when you can't work with the other parent, you might find that things become more challenging, but the same principles can help.

Get the finances right

One of the biggest areas of contention during a divorce and child custody situation is the money. Taking the time to get everything set up as quickly as possible can alleviate some of the tension that will likely impact your kids. It is especially important to get the specifics like how shared expenses will be split. Remember that this isn't the time to try to pit one parent against the other. Instead, work as a parenting team to ensure that the children have the standard of life to which they are accustomed.

Set the routine quickly

Your children need a routine. There might be some points that you need to change from what you did when you were still married. Figure out what these are and get the adjustments made as soon as you can. This can help your children to feel better because they will know what to expect when they are with you.

Enjoy quality time

Your children need to know that they can have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Enjoy the time you have with them, but take the time to encourage them to do the same with the other parent. Knowing that you want them to enjoy the other parent can benefit them greatly. Some children worry that a parent might get mad that they are having fun and building a relationship with the other parent.

As you are embarking on the co-parenting journey, remember that you should always communicate directly with your ex. Make sure that neither parent uses the kids as messengers because having to relay information is a huge stressor for the kids. Plus, information might be misconstrued or incorrect. It might help to put this in writing in the parenting plan.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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