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When should you worry about child custody?

If you plan to go through with a divorce, one of the very first things you have to do is devise a child custody and visitation plan. Your child must come first during your divorce, even if you feel there are more pressing matters than his or her immediate placement.

When you divorce, things can become negative between you and your spouse. It's important to focus on custody arrangements that relieve stress, not add to it. To start with, create an immediate temporary plan. State what you expect out of visitation or custody. Talk about who will have custody on which days and on holidays in the initial plan.

Over the next few weeks or months, you should focus on working together to create custody arrangements that work for your situation. For example, if your child has to go to the doctor daily throughout the week and his or her mother's home is closer, then that may be the best place for him or her. On the other hand, if your home is closer to your child's school or you have more time to care for your child, it may make more sense to have your child in your care most of the time. In any case, you need to work out where your child will be each day of the week to avoid conflict.

Children already have a hard time when divorces happen. Talk to the other parent about making this transition as simple as possible by maintaining a standard routine. Our website has more information on divorce and what you can do to make it easier for your child.

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