When it comes to divorce, few matters are as emotionally involved as issues surrounding the care and custody of shared children. Most family law attorneys agree that child custody cases are among the most contentious and highly litigated forms of law. For Utah spouses who are preparing to divorce, there are a number of tactics that can help them navigate child custody matters with fewer complications and less emotional fallout.

One piece of advice that is easy to give but difficult to follow is to remove emotions from the child custody equation. This is a challenge for most parents, because they deeply love their children and want to remain a vital part of their lives. It is perfectly normal to feel strongly about how one’s parenting role will change after divorce. However, it is important to remain focused on the needs of the children, and not the emotional disruption between the parents.

One way to help parents focus on creating the best parenting plan possible is to handle other highly contentious matters before turning attention to custody. Parties should fully iron out the details of property division well before they begin to discuss parenting arrangements. This allows both parties to focus exclusively on making the parenting transition as smooth as possible, without allowing money matters to distract from that goal. While few parents intentionally use child custody to influence negotiations on property division, in reality this is often the case.

Perhaps the best way to move through divorce without a great deal of emotional distress is to focus on the future. While many in Utah view divorce solely as the end of a marriage, the process also represents a doorway into a new life, one that can be built upon one’s own design. By remaining focused on how to best structure child custody to suit the needs of the children, it is possible to move through the process with a sense of hope and optimism about the years to come.

Source: Huffington Post, “Getting Divorced? 10 Mistakes to Avoid,” Karen Stewart, June 27, 2013

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