If you are going through a divorce, chances are you've got a lot on your mind. Regardless of your reason for divorce, things can get much more stressful when it comes to battling for custody of your children. As your custody mediation approaches, it is important to keep your children's best interests in mind and not let your actions be clouded by your resentment or negative feelings towards your spouse. Listed below are three tips that will help you stay sane and support your child during a custody battle.
1. Don't Bad Mouth Your Spouse (In Front of Anyone)
Bad mouthing: It makes sense why it happens. You're hurt, you're angry, you're stressed. It's easy to let your feelings get the better of you and let something slip about your spouse. No matter what you're saying, if it's about something they did or didn't do or a characteristic you dislike, in the end it just reflects poorly on you. Children repeat things, and what you said is likely to get back to your spouse. Additionally, bad mouthing your spouse in front of the Guardian ad Litem can make you appear bitter, angry, or unstable, causing him or her to question your parenting skills.
2. Continue (or Start to) Co-Parent
If you have children, it is important that you and your spouse stay consistent when it comes to parenting. It might be tempting to try to be the "fun parent", especially if your time with your children is limited. However, inconsistency in discipline, schedules, etc., will only confuse your child and might contribute to behavior problems, which are already common during divorces. Co-parenting will help your children understand that, even though your and your spouse are divorcing, you both still love them and want your relationships to remain the same.
3. Come to Mediation Prepared
Show up to your mediation prepared with a reasonable custody and time-sharing proposal and a calendar that shows important dates, and yours and your children's schedules. Showing up without a clear idea of what you want, or letting your personal feelings towards your spouse overshadow what is fair and reasonable, will not reflect well on you and your parenting.
You might not get the exact custody agreement you want, but do your best to remain professional and flexible. The main goal in custody mediation is to make the decision that is best for your children. Getting a divorce certainly isn't easy, but following the tips above will help you keep it together and help your children through this difficult time.
Contact a legal office like Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP for more information.