Parents who can work together to come up with a child custody agreement can ensure that the terms of their agreement are unique — which can help meet the unique needs of their children. During the mediation process, parents negotiate what points they need to be put in the document that will govern their parenting duties. It’s imperative that the kids remain at the heart of the discussions, but this isn’t always easy. Here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. When you’re going through mediation over custody, remember that what led to the demise of the marriage doesn’t matter. The only exception to this is if a situation like child abuse or neglect was present. When this is present, bringing it up may help to ensure the children are kept safe from a spouse’s abusive or explosive temper.
  2. Before you bring up negative points about your ex, think about what the outcome might be. The anger and hurt that come with divorce sometimes cloud a parent’s judgment about what their children truly need. In most cases, the best thing for a child is being able to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.
  3. As you work through the details of the parenting plan, remember that you should have everything written out exactly as it was decided. Be careful to watch for things that have dual meanings or that might be misconstrued because these can lead to misunderstandings in the future.

The parenting plan must be set based on what your children need right now. As they grow up, their needs might change. It’s possible to modify the parenting plan when this occurs, so try not to think too far in advance about what needs to be done.