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Dealing with contentious matters in child custody

Some parents have co-parenting situations that are stress free. Others have to deal with contentious issues that cause a lot of anxiety and stress. When you are in the latter group, finding ways to work through the problems can be a challenge.

Child custody is one area where both adults likely have very strong feelings. This can make negotiating difficult because it is easy to think that it is your way or no way at all. Instead of stalling and being unable to figure out a solution, try using these tips:

Remain open to possibilities

Even though you are certain that your way is the best way, you need to be willing to consider other options. You and your ex might be able to find a middle ground that could resolve the matter. There are times when creative solutions prove to be the ones that are truly in the children's best interests.

Try different options

In some cases, such as seeking a schedule that works, trying different options can be beneficial. Make sure that you and your ex understand that the arrangement is temporary, unless it is successful. This gives you a chance to determine what may need to be changed. In some ways, knowing that things can be adjusted if they don't work can make the situation less contentious and facilitate a solution.

Talk to your children

Children who are able to give their opinions should be a part of the discussion about matters impacting them. This won't always be appropriate, but you might find that the child's input is valuable when they are able to tell you what they think will work for some situations. Your child's age, maturity level and understanding will be relevant in these cases.

Seek outside assistance

In severe cases, it might be necessary to seek help from an outside party. This will typically mean going to court. Many parents try not to involve others in their conflicts, but figuring out a solution when you are at an impasse can frustrate the adults and the children. In these cases, the court might be able to find a middle ground. Just remember, the court is only focused on the children's best interests, not what the parents want or find easiest.

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