Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County had a great post this week concerning a win-win custody battle strategy which I think all PARENTS should consider. While it is not something new or really all that different, my fellow blogger actually puts it in writing for all to consider. Below is the meat of his post and I would strongly suggest all of those involved in a custody battle consider it. (Thanks also to Grant Griffiths at the Kansas Family Law Blog for alerting me to it):
Instead of limiting yourself to only two options, winning it all or losing, there is another, more productive way to approach the custody issue. The approach may require more maturity than some parties can muster, but, for those able to shift gears, think rationally and be patient, the following approach can be rewarding for them and their children. These steps can lead to a better solution for all, especially the children.
1. Think about, discuss and decide what your ultimate goals are for the kids. What outcomes would you like to see? Many people would want some of the following (or similar) goals:
The kids having a great relationship with both parents
The kids having a great relationship with their extended families
Financial security for the children
Having a safe, secure home for the children
Having good schools for the kids
Providing for a college education for the children
Providing sports opportunities for the children
The opportunity for the kids to learn music, art or other interests
Each parent can decide what he or she thinks would be important goals for their children. Broader, underlying goals are more helpful and meaningful. If both parents think of goals in broad terms, they often can agree on them.
2. Look at the big picture. What are the resources to work with:
Financial abilities of the parents
Parental/family member time available
What homes and schools are available and affordable
What the parents’ neighborhoods are like
The existing relationships between parents and children and the roles each parent plays with the children
What community resources are available
What special needs, if any, a child has
What interests the child has
3. Brainstorm options. Think up as many different solutions as you can. Sometimes it is helpful to get help from a parenting expert. Spend some time and try to be non-traditional or unconventional. Don’t limit yourself to ‘standard’ solutions. Open up your thoughts to come up with some crazy ideas because they might just turn into good ideas.
4. Evaluate your options. See if they can help achieve your identified goals. Criticizing and testing your options can lead to the discovery of other ideas and can help you narrow down the choices until you are left with an idea or ideas that work.
Implementation: This process can helpful if just you do it, but it is really better if you can do it with the other parent. Collaborative Law is one way to accomplish that. This is actually a very common approach to problem-solving in Collaborative Law. Even in traditional litigation, you can use this system alone or together with the other parent. If you work on this alone, you can create a better plan to present in court or in negotiations. If both parents work together through this process, there’s an excellent chance they will reach an agreement that will be satisfactory to both parents and to the children.
Please give this a try and let me know how it works for you!