Child Custody Lawyer in Reston, Virginia
When co-parents work together to create a custody agreement, they are often happier with the arrangement in the long run than co-parents who do not.
This negotiation can be much easier than hashing things out with a judge, but you still need to hire a great child custody lawyer.
You and your ex-spouse are in the best position to understand your child’s needs and choose what is best for them. Negotiating a parenting agreement that focuses on the best interests of your child will benefit everyone. This helps foster a healthy environment and opens the door to clear, productive communication.
While it sounds appealing, this process requires significant effort from both parties. You will need to work closely to decide the custody arrangement, parenting schedule, expense sharing and more.
During the process you may think that you need to be a master negotiator to “win”, but this is the wrong mentality to have. Approach these negotiations with an open mind and a desire to create the best possible arrangement for the sake of your child’s happiness and health.[Related: Lowering the Cost of Divorce]
The Negotiation Process
It’s important to note that negotiating isn’t right for everyone. If your family has experienced violence, substance abuse issues or high levels of conflict, you will probably be better served with court involvement.
Remember that the safety of the children should take top priority. If you are concerned, consult with a child custody lawyer to decide if this is the right approach for you and your ex.
However, if you and your ex can work together to create a parenting agreement, there are a few ways to handle this negotiation.
This alternative approach to traditional litigation works by encouraging open communication and complete transparency among the co-parents. Each party has their own child custody attorney.
These attorneys are trained in collaborative law and have experience working with mental health and financial experts to help you negotiate a tailor-made agreement for your family.
You may think that with more professionals involved, this option would be more expensive. On the contrary, this option is usually significantly shorter and can save you money.
Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution. It prioritizes negotiation over litigation. A third-party professional known as a mediator, helps the co-parents negotiate terms for a parenting arrangement.
Negotiations are made in a safe and supportive environment. This process is typically quicker than traditional litigation and parents have more control over the pace of the proceedings.
On average, co-parents can create an agreement in two-to-six months with a mediator. If you choose to use this method, you should carefully research your mediator.
Do not choose an inexperienced mediator as they may not have the knowledge or background to help you. Your child custody lawyer should be able to give you recommendations for a mediator.
Preparing for Negotiation
If you want to effectively negotiate with your co-parent, you have to be prepared. Research the different aspects of child custody and familiarize yourself with specific laws that pertain to child custody and child support in your state.
Consult your child custody lawyer about your rights before you begin the negotiation process. Educating yourself will give you the confidence you need to approach negotiations with a clear mind.
Tips for Negotiating
There are a few things you can do that will help make this process as smooth as possible and ensure that you and your co-parent are able to create an agreement that is acceptable to both parties. These include:
- Commit to listening. Listening is a skill. Listen to your co-parent. Be open to input from your co-parent and you will find it easier to reach an agreement that benefits your children.
- Have realistic expectations. It is unrealistic to think that both parties can be completely satisfied. Be prepared to compromise. This will be a necessary part of creating a plan that puts your children’s needs first.
- Keep your emotions in check. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Keep things professional and calm. This will help you transition from a romantic relationship to a strictly co-parenting relationship that is based solely on the wellbeing of your children.
Child Custody Lawyer in Reston
At Grenadier, Duffett, Levi, Winkler & Rubin, P.C., we know that going through a divorce is one of the most stressful situations someone can experience.
Aside from all the emotional pain and struggles, there are countless legal components to the process as well. Our experienced family law attorneys can advise you on the best course of action and help you achieve a positive outcome. Contact us today to get started!