Family, Heartbreak

How To Get Custody Of Your Kids (Without Involving Them In A Nasty Court Battle)

You and your spouse have finally decided to make the call and throw in the towel on your marriage. And whether you’ve been together for three years or 13, there are going to be a number of issues that stand in the way of you and a peaceful resolution to your divorce — particularly who gets custody of your kids.

But one of the biggest things that you don’t want to do in a divorce is get your kids caught in the middle of the struggles between you and your soon-to-be ex spouse.

That's because handling your custody battle the wrong way could subject your children to emotional scarring and unresolved issues as adults, which should be avoided at all costs.

RELATED: What's The Best Type Of Divorce For You? Just Ask Yourself 2 Easy Questions

It's a given that you and your spouse are likely feeling hurt or facing unresolved problems during your divorce. But when tensions and tempers are high, it’s important to focus on communication, says family and divorce attorney Kevin J. Chroman in the YourTango Expert video above. 

So just how can you go about getting through a custody battle without it being a long and drawn out process for you, your spouse and your children?

For most custody agreements, the starting place for discussion is typically going to be splitting your children's time evenly — 50/50 — between both parents, unless there are extraneous circumstances.

But it’s important to focus here on what would be in your children’s best interest.

It’s possible that you feel that your kids need to spend the majority of their time with you, and your spouse may even feel like the opposite may be true. If this is the case and you’re going through traditional divorce, then it’s likely that you’re going to wind up in a lengthy court situation.

That's where collaborative divorce or divorce mediation could benefit your family.

RELATED:5 Ways A Collaborative Divorce Can Save You Time, Money & Sanity

In collaborative divorce and divorce mediation, the focus is going to be squarely on what’s in your children’s — and your own — best interest, rather than at the court's discretion.

This will include all sorts of considerations, ranging from your children’s decisions on what they need (if they’re old enough to make that call) to the reasons behind why you believe they should be with you 70 percent of the time versus 50 to why you believe it’s important that your partner see your children less.

According to Kevin Chroman, in the best interests of your child, it’s important to not just take a stand and decide that you’re going to duke it out in court. Instead take the time to have these conversations beforehand, so that you can create a healthy environment for everyone involved — and particularly for the sake of your children's emotional well-being.

In cases of both collaboration and mediation divorces, the teams helping you come to terms with your divorce will make sure to take everything into account when having these discussions.

Pursuing these avenues for divorce — and discussing the needs of both partners and your children in advance — will help make sure you avoid an ugly divorce battle and that your kids don’t spend months (or even years!) in and out of courtrooms with your and your ex. 

RELATED: How To Know If Divorce Mediation Is Right For You (Or If You Need A Lawyer)

Kevin J. Chroman, Esq, is a family law attorney who practices in the greater Los Angeles area. If you have any questions regarding this or other legal questions, contact him at his website.