HOW TO RESOLVE CHILD CUSTODY CASES
There are a few ways to resolve your child custody case. Traditionally parents go to court and ask a stranger to order them to parent their child a certain way. The judge has never sat down and had a normal conversation with the parents about how the parents think the child should be raised, and have never met the child. Day after day, judges tell parents to settle these cases themselves. At least a hundred times, I have heard judges ask parents why they prefer a stranger to tell them what is best for their kids rather than the very parents who love and know their children more than anyone else.
JOINT CUSTODY OR SOLE CUSTODY?
The fact that parents raise the children very differently may have no bearing on your custody order. Furthermore, accusing the other parent of being a “bad parent” often isn’t enough to obtain an order for sole custody unless the “bad parenting” involves some kind of abuse or neglect. The best interest of the child often doesn’t include whether the other parent bathes the child right before returning him/her, dresses the child in clothes that might not fit perfectly, buying the child cheaper shoes than the other parent might, let’s the child stay up late sometimes, etc.
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION PLANS
Develop your parenting plan based on your children’s best interests. Parenting plans involve the amount of time you each spend parenting your children (physical custody), as well as decisions regarding various aspects of raising your children (legal custody).
Joint physical custody can be crafted in different ways depending on the age of the child. For example if the child is able to be away from each parent for a week at a time, then week-on/week-off might be a good idea. Each parent should live near the child’s school.
WHAT’S A 2-2-3 PLAN?
A 2-2-3 plan means that each parent has 2 consecutive weekdays with the child and then alternate weekends but the child will not go more than 3 days without seeing either parent. You can also alternate each day so that the child doesn’t go more than 24 hours without seeing each parent.
WHAT’S A 5-2-2-5 PLAN?
A 5-2-2-5 plan means the parents take turns having the child for 2 consecutive days during the week, then alternate weekends.
If parties cannot afford mediation fees, then they certainly cannot afford to spend their income and assets to pay 2 litigation attorneys to make court appearances.