Last Updated: October 28, 2022

Family Compromising on a Child Custody Case
With help from a child custody lawyer, the adults in the situation can come to a mutually agreeable solution that enables both of them to remain involved in the lives of their children.

When it comes to child custody, parents sometimes must decide between compromising and going to court. A child custody battle can be emotionally and financially difficult for all involved. Compromise is often the best way to handle the situation (and is usually recommended by the judge). With help from a child custody lawyer, the adults in the situation can come to a mutually agreeable solution that enables both of them to remain involved in the lives of their children. Speaking to a child custody lawyer for a free family law evaluation is a great first step.

Compromising on Child Custody to Get Your Rights

Parents have many decisions to make when determining their individual relationships with their children. These include whether to live near each other so the children can remain in the same school district and how much time each one will spend with the children. Even something as simple as deciding who will take the children to and from activities may require some compromise.

Before the adults can determine a satisfactory child custody arrangement, each must understand his or her custody rights. The law can be confusing to a layperson so having an experienced child custody lawyer explain it is typically the best approach. The children’s best interests are put first when parents agree to compromise and find agreement. Always keep in mind, that when a judge has to make the decision instead of the parents, they weigh heavily whether the parents have tried to compromise and tried to co-parent ( a HUGE element in the “best interests of the child” standard courts use) – a parent who doesn’t do this will look bad in court.

What Rights Does a Child Custody Order Provide?

A child custody order, normally called a “Parenting Plan”, Custody Judgment”, or “Allocation Judgment”, details whether one or both parents will have decision making abilities regarding the kids. The plan will also detail parenting time (visitation) and which days and times each parent should have the children. The purpose of a long, detailed parenting plan is to try to avoid potential problems or arguments in the future. Judges are busy, so they do not want people coming back every year with new, small issues. Plus, its expensive and is emotionally and financially draining on everyone involved to keep bringing their child custody case back to court.

Details, Details, Details (in a parenting plan)

Once parents understand their rights and what a parenting plan should contain, parents can begin discussing the particulars of their child custody arrangement. One parent may wish to have primary custody, or both may want to share child custody. Whatever the case, the adults should keep the best interests of the children in mind when making a final decision. If one parent fights for child custody, the other may find it best to agree to the situation, settling for regular visitation in order to avoid a conflict.

What Details Go Into a Parenting Plan?

All sorts of things need to be decided and put into writing. This is why compromise is so important. Without compromising and working together to draft a parenting plan, a judge will make all decisions – after you’ve spent years in court. Here are the main items that most parenting plans should include:

  • Which parent (or both) can make ‘significant decisions’ for the kids
    • This would be things like school choice, healthcare, extracurricular activities, and religion.
  • Which parent will have parenting time on certain days of the week
  • Which parent will have Holiday’s certain years (usually alternating even/odd years)
  • Will there be summer vacation parenting time, like each parent gets 3-weeks each year?
  • Who gets to decide (maybe both parents) extracurricular activities for the kids?
  • When can phone calls be made to or from the kids to the other parent (usually daily)?
  • Which parent will handle transportation to or from parenting time exchanges (usually equally shared)?
  • Will either parent be able to move away from the other or will it be limited to a geographic area?
    • Moving a child out of state or far away within the same state is commonly called “relocation”.
  • What if the parents share decision making and they disagree on something significant?

Mediation as a Tool for Compromising Child Custody Cases

Parents must maintain open lines of communication so they can collaborate on these decisions as much as possible. Each adult deserves a say in issues like this but that should not overshadow what is best for the children. Parents should keep their discussions as calm and objective as possible, removing the emotional component that can cause discussions to become heated.

Sometimes, parents want to work together and compromise but for certain reasons, need a third party involved to help them compromise. This is where Mediation comes into play. Mediation involves a third party, sometimes a divorce lawyer (or a “Mediation Council” approved mediator), who will speak with both parties individually and then together. It might even take multiple sessions.

The mediator will explain what the law typically does in certain situations and then tries to get each party to compromise on issues to get to an agreement. For example: one parent might want 3-weekends per month because of their work schedule, so the mediator gets the other parent to allow it, but they get 2-extra weeks of summer vacation parenting time each year.

Next Steps

Coming to agreement on child custody issues can look difficult to solve at first, but it is not impossible to reach an agreement. Rather than heading into negotiations expecting a custody battle, parents should try to work with each other. Whether using a mediator or sitting down at the table themselves, compromising will be best for everyone – including the kids – in the end. With the right attitude and help from an expert custody lawyer (and a free consultation here!), many parents are able to establish a fair child custody arrangement with little or no arguing.

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6 thoughts on “Compromising on Your Child Custody Case”

  1. My wife is without a college degree and comes from a low income family. I have a college degree and come from a middle class family. Now after 10 years, she says she wants a divorce. She says I need to start worrying about how she is going to be the primary caretaker. She says I’m going to put her through college while she keeps the kids. She blames me for her not finishing college, but if was her choice. She took theater classes and generals for 1 year when we were 19 and engaged and then gave up and wen to work at a department store. When I finished college, we got married, had kids, and then she quit to raise the kids because I could afford it. She blames me for all of this, and now thinks she has all this leverage to divorce me and I pay for everything. I wouldn’t mind a 50-50 split, but I feel like she is going to go on the offense. Which makes me want to go on the offense. I am a good husband and dad. I have never abused her. When we argue she breaks things and hits me in the arms and body (not head or face). She once had to be evaluated for bi-polar, but she passed. They prescribed anti-depressants. She now blames me for that too. Another big fear is that she will go after my share of my fathers company, which names me and my two brothers as 33% owners each (LLC). My dad passed away in 2001. The LLC papers name only the three of us, not her. But the LLC was formed after our marriage. But my fathers business was from 30 years BEFORE our marriage. Is there any hope at me keeping her out of that pot? Or will I have to buy it down by giving her 70%-30% (or something) just to keep her out of it?

    I know I can provide a better existence for my two kids age 12 and 13, because she has no steady job or education, but I fear that she will ask for me to pay for her education plus child support so that she can keep the kids.

    I would like to get custody, and just pay her 50-50 of assets (not counting the LLC), plus a modest alimony for X number of years. Am I being too greedy?

    1. familylawrights

      This is not an easy situation at all. When discussing things like child custody during divorce, you need to speak with and work with an expert divorce attorney for matters this complex. normally, when property is acquired after marriage, it is considered marital property. However, in this instance, your father’s business was started prior to the marriage, and as long as she has not had herself added to any of the business accounts or done anything to increase the value of the business, her claim to a share of your portion of the business will most likely be limited at best. Speak with someone, and do it fast.

  2. hi i just want to give up my parental rights to my mom i dont have want any lawyers involved how much will it be and how soon can i do it.

    1. familylawrights

      You can’t just give up your rights to your mother and expect to avoid using a lawyer. Allowing your mother to adopt your child is nothing easy or quick. Even if by agreement, multiple petitions need to be drafted and filed with the courts so that the legal process in probate and or domestic relations court is handled properly. Because there will not be a fight, it shouldn’t be too hard or too expensive, but there is definitely no free way to do this – this is a huge thing to accomplish.

  3. Hi, im going to court for my daughter that has a hypoplastic,left,heart syndrome And Turners Syndrome She’s been through 3,open Heart surgeries and she’s now 8,years old now.She just got over her last one about a,year or,Two ago and she has so many doctors,I took her in her last Cardiology apontment and dont have no tranportation never had alicens to drive I took the buss lots of time’s and I just lost my,house and before that my mother was going againts me trying to get Custody of my three kids and I Ended up getting them back And now CPS, took my little girl from me she went from Receiving home to froster family home and I got her to be with a aunt still going to Court For,Juenile Dependency (Welf.&inst.Code,300et seq.)for medical neglect I’m a good mother and Take Care of them good, I’m So Worried if I’m going to get My Little girl, back, please Tell Me How This Works They Have Me on Visitation,Level A due to the fact My Mother Told Them That I Would Take My kids From Her When She Had Them. MY Mother Tryed To Take My kids just For The Money or just to keep them From Me And now She Can’t Even See them I don’t know What’s Going,To Happen But I’m going to do all I Can To get My Little girl back.??? Please Help if Any Avice What Are My Rights???

    1. With a history like this, you have a difficult uphill battle. Only a pattern of positive improvements and speaking with an attorney is a good first start. Good luck, and don’t give up.

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