Litigation can be psychologically-demanding and expensive and draw out and increase the stress of a divorce. However, approximately 90 percent of divorces are settled out-of-court in this country. Options such as mediation allows the couple to agree to an acceptable resolution that addresses their situation. Collaborative divorce also allows a couple and their attorneys to negotiate resolution of custody and visitation issues.
Custody should not be a winner-take-all battle. If one parent receives sole or primary custody, the children face a greater risk of having many unfortunate and long-term problems such as poorer academic performance, potential drug or alcohol abuse and earlier sexual experimentation. One parent will also lose any relationship with their children.
Custody and visitation arrangements should allow both parent to be engaged in their children's lives and activities, unless a parent is abusive or incapable. In addition to lowering the potential for future problems in the children's lives, this provides for an easier transition and less disruption in the children's lives.
Parents do not have to remain best friends or even speak to each other often. But they can be civil and keep conflicts to themselves and away from their children. Texting and email can help parents avoid arguments but engage in meaningful collaboration on their children's schedule, well-being and activities.
An attorney can provide detached but expert advice on dealing with custody and other divorce legal issues. Lawyers can also prepare fair and reasonable custody documents that help protect the best interests of the child and prevent further problems.