Understanding Child Custody Agreements in Albuquerque Divorce Cases
So many of my Albuquerque divorce clients ask me, how do we decide what kind of custody arrangement is appropriate? Most divorce lawyers will say something like, “It really should be decided on a case-by-case basis,” or “Every case is different.” While true, let me share a few things I have seen in my nearly two decades of handling divorce and child custody cases. The first is that most children need and want a primary place to live. While it is certainly possible for divorced parents to share 50/50 custody of their children, in the vast majority of cases, I have not seen this work. This is a situation that becomes very hectic and stressful for the child, and I have heard many children describe this arrangement as “living out of a suitcase,” or being on “permanent vacation.”
What it means to be a great parent after divorce
Please remember that you do not have to have your child half of the time or a majority of the time to be a great parent, or to have a positive impact on your child’s life. It’s all about the quality of the time you spend with your child. It’s about being present, listening, supporting, and advising to the best of your ability.
With that in mind, it is an absolute must to be completely honest about how your life, personal and professional, fits into the lives of your children. When the dust of the divorce settles, how will you be there to support your child? Are you the person to help with homework or is that not your strong suit? Do you have time to take your child to sports practices and games? Will you be there when the child has to come home sick from school? Are you the parent who can take your child school shopping, make sure she gets to school on time, is picked up on time, and has everything else she needs to thrive? The most contentious custody cases I have seen usually have one thing in common: one or both of the parents have a completely unrealistic idea about how they will fit into the life of their child. Much time and many resources are then spent until the parent, or parents, are forced to face that fact.
Child custody agreements and orders are not final in your divorce case
Also remember that custody determinations are rarely final orders of the court. Children grow quickly and their needs are ever-changing, and as these things change so do the mechanics of parenting plans and custody schedules, whether this is done formally or informally. There’s no need to fight to the death for an arrangement that will likely be changed many times over the course of your child’s life.