Arguing with your former spouse about everything can be tiresome as you go through a divorce. To make a difficult divorce a little easier, it helps to establish a visitation schedule and custody arrangement for the children right away. The reliability of a schedule helps children adjust to the changes that occur during a divorce, and makes it easier for both parents to establish boundaries around parenting. When both parents are actively engaged with the children and have the ability to care for them, child custody is generally divided. Expect that the children are going to spend about equal time with each parent, and you will need to negotiate an arrangement that works for everyone.
Know What You Want
As you negotiate a child custody and visitation agreement, know what you want. If you don't believe your ex is going to participate in decision making, or they don't want to be an active parent, it's possible that you can obtain sole physical custody while you both share legal custody. This would allow your children to call your home their primary home and you would receive child support if your income is lower than your ex's.
Establish Parenting Ground Rules
You are entering a new type of relationship with your ex as co-parents. This can be a difficult time for couples who are going through a tough divorce. You may want to control what goes on in your ex's home, or your ex might tell you how to parent when the children are with you. None of this will be beneficial, and it is important to focus on the needs of the children. Establish where pickups and drop offs are going to be, and when you can call the children when they are with your ex. Ground rules set the expectations, and it is up to you to follow them as best as you can.
When Custody or Visitation Needs to Change
There can be a number of reasons why the custody or visitation schedule needs to change. Your child custody attorney can work with you to establish a material change in circumstance that warrants going back to court to change the custody order. If you are looking to gain more custody because your circumstances have improved, or the children wish to make the changes, you can try to work this out in court. A custody attorney can file a motion for modification to see if the court will allow such changes.