Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney

Changing Your Perspective with Child Custody

Sometimes in life the simplest changes may make the biggest difference. If you are a parent dealing with child custody one of these simple changes may be how you phrase you child custody concerns. Many child custody fights are prolonged by parents insisting their rights are being violated by their co-parent.

A simple piece of advice I would give all parents dealing with custody is to exchange the term "my rights" for "best interest of our child." This is the approach the courts generally take and it is amazing how similar your rights are to the best interest of your child. All parents are more receptive to protecting their children than they are to protecting their co-parents rights. So your concerns may be better received if you can phase them in a way that points out what is best for your child.

A common example of this is during custody modifications when there is not 50/50 custody. Many parents will complain the current child custody agreement is unfair because it they only have 25% custody. This exact same idea can be expressed with the emphasis on your child's best interest. It is accepted by the courts that a child is better served by having relationships with both parents. So changing the concern to address how the current agreement is depriving your child the opportunity to build a maintain a relationship with both parents.

If you and your co-parent can take this approach to child custody you may be able to communicate your concerns in a way that is more likely to be appreciated by your co-parent. This may not be a magic bullet that fixes your custody problems, but it will force you to articulate your concerns in a fashion that may lead to less fights and more productive conversations.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant only to provide information and is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions concerning your particular case you should make an appointment to talk to an attorney or mediator about your options. I would love to hear what other estate planning or familily law issues you find important.

by Keith Dysart, Santa Cruz Family Law Attorney and Mediator

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