When Should You Compromise With Custody?

Fights for custody of children can get very ugly, creating stress and frustration for both parents and children. At a certain point, the adults should stop and ask themselves whether such disagreement is healthy or beneficial. There may come a time when compromise, not conflict, is the best solution. This holds true during the custody battle and while co-parenting during the years that follow.

In a situation where each parent wants to win custody of kids, things can get ugly. The best scenarios result in the parents reaching an agreement through informal settlement negotiations with the assistance of a custody lawyer. Alternative dispute resolutions like collaborative law or mediation are other ways to keep the custody decision out of court.

However, if the adults are not able to come to agreement on their own, a family court judge may need to make the decision. This requires additional time and money that many parents do not have. Therefore, compromise during informal proceedings may be a better choice. As long as each parent is aware of custody rights and is comfortable with the custody outcome, compromise can be the best approach.

Compromise extends into the future, especially when the adults have different parenting styles. The majority of parenting tendencies are the result of personal experiences and how the adults were raised. Unless the parents grew up in similar environments, their parenting styles may be very different. Each parent must discover his or her most effective style and both parents must act as a team when raising their children.

Good communication is critical for reaching a compromise regarding custody and parenting concerns. An experienced custody lawyer encourages compromise and seeks to minimize conflict. Child custody and parenting are serious matters that affect the development of children. Relevant decisions should be made with the best interest of each child in mind. The goal is to work out a custody arrangement that is minimally disruptive and is comfortable for both the parents and the children.

Effective parenting requires that the adults be on the same page. Children understand rules, violation consequences, and behavior rewards when these are presented in a consistent manner by both parents. Youngsters learn how to make good choices by watching their parents so parents who compromise during custody and childrearing are setting good examples. An experienced and professional custody lawyer serves as both an intermediary and client advocate during a custody case.

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About the Author

Nicholas Baker is a practicing family law attorney with over a decade of experience handling divorce, child custody, child support, and domestic violence matters in the courtroom. Attorney Nicholas Baker believes in providing family law information for individuals so that they can make an informed decision about their own family law matter.

  1. Diana Reply

    Hello, my son started to have visitation with his father 3 years ago when he was released from prison. Everything was fine in the beginning and my son was happy. Now however, my son comes home to me complaining that his father smokes around him and that it makes his throat hurt. He’s also told me that when he’s there his father doesn’t really spend time with him. That he is usually placing videogames all day while his father stays in the basement (where the father’s room is located). The father lives with his girlfriend, her daughter, and her brother. Recently, my son told me that his father stated that from now on, until he finishes constructing a room for him, he has to sleep at his grandparent’s house. His grandparents live across the street and two doors over. However, this is something we’ve heard before and never saw accomplished. There was an extra bedroom in the grandparent’s house while the father was living there, that was supposed to be turned into my son’s room but never was after three years. Also, my son has told me that when he’s there he eats really late and that when he asked his father to stop smoking he replied “I’ll stop smoking when you start playing sports.” When I confronted his father about this he said that my son was lying and even took it as far as to punish him the next time my son came over. My son has never lied to me a day in his life, we keep a very honest relationship with each other because that’s what I have taught him. Since that day I have not confronted him about anything for fear of how he will treat my son while he has him for overnights. I have read every law there is to read on visitation in New Jersey and it seems that short of the father physically abusing the child, there I nothing we can do. Please, I am at the end of my rope. My child is unhappy, his grades have been suffering ever since he started the visitation (and he’s in a gifted and talented academy) and I am a nervous wreck anytime my child visits with his father. What can I do?

    Also, we have joint custody and arranged visitation for every Saturday to Sunday depending on wether I have made plans with my son. That is what the court order states when we went to a mediator. He has also not paid child support in over a month and a half. And before then only paid it whenever he wanted so there would be gaps of months between payments. Also, my son lives with myself and my fiancé whom has been in my son’s life as a father figure for over seven years. Can I stop visitation or limit it to no overnights? I believe it would do more good than harm being that my son already has a stable family environment at home. Also, my sons father disappeared with no call or notice from January 2013 to a week before my son’s birthday March 2013. I apologize for writing so much but I am desperate.

  2. Francesca Reply

    Hi, my ex-husband and I divorced in 2008 and I have custody and I was granted $184 a month for 2 kids ages 7 and 10. The amount was determined by his unemployment status at the time. His financial situation has changed. He is employed and he inherited some money from his parents. Our original custody agreement was every other weekend and Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Two years ago we changed it to week on week off for the kids because they were getting confused. We thought it would be more stable. Child support did not change but he supported them financially while they were with him. Now, he wants to go back to the original agreement with no child support change. Can he do that legally? What legal options do I have? We live in Ohio.

    • familylawrights Reply

      Ohio uses an “Income Shares” model to determine the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent. This is not 1.) a straight percentage of net income, or 2.) an “actual needs of the child” determination. What this means is that the courts will look at multiple factors, being, hoe much income you have, how much he has, what the child;s needs are, what normal every day expenses are, and how much time the child spends with you versus him. The amount is typically somewhere in the 20% of net income range for one-child, and varies according to the number of children and income levels. Contact an attorney, if he is making substantially more money than he was when the initial order was entered, he should be paying more to you. Get help immediately.

  3. amy Reply

    I want to move out of state with my 8yr old daughter. I believe my court papers state I have sole custody. Her father does not see her at all, we do not have any kind of visitation set up through courts. I take that back he has seen her once in the last 7yrs and without my knowledge of it. Will he be able to dispute me moving and have a leg to stand on?

  4. Ty Reply

    Are you able to take a child on vacation before a divorce is final? When does the father ever get a say so?

    • familylawrights Reply

      In many instances, yes, but getting approval from the judge is most likely the best thing you can do. Without getting approval from either your husband and a court order so the judge knows that you have this approval, you put yourself at risk of being set up by your spouse to make you look bad. Don’t be casual with these things–take your time, get things written and signed, and go before a judge and explain that you are going on vacation. Speak with an attorney, not doing so can put your entire case in jeopardy.

  5. Dave Reply

    What do you do when the father has full custody (which I have full custody of mine… but in this case is my brother) and he has fallen so far as to be a threat to the to the best care for the children? His daughter he cares not if she stays there, his son he forces to, and it is in the worst conditions: violent between father and girlfriend, bad homestead (running power on an extension cord from neighbors for power), and poor selection of food for child to be able to feed himself from since can’t cook, and the father and girlfriend stay locked in their bedroom all day?

    • familylawrights Reply

      This sounds like a terrible situation for the children in this particular instance. What you need to do is contact an attorney to find out how the department of children and family services deal with this kind of situation in your area. In some instances, they will remove the children, but you do not want them to take custody of the kids if a family member is available. Getting the help you need means contacting an attorney. There is no substitute for a lawyer when a child’s physical well-being is threatened.

  6. sam Reply

    I understand what this post says, but is it ok to fight? I want to fight for custody of my kids. Is there a specific lawyer than handles custody in court?

    • familylawrights Reply

      Yes, sometimes you have to fight for your family. You’re in luck: we have partnered with attorneys that can get down in the mud if they have to and get you the rights you deserve! Get started today!

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