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Why are goals important in child custody situations?

Child custody decisions usually aren't easy to make, but your children are counting on you to have everything in order for them to thrive. When you and your ex are going through a divorce, it might behoove you to take a little time to sit down and figure out what goals you have for your parenting relationship.

For many parents these days, co-parenting is the chosen model they will follow after a divorce. Whether this is the type you choose or not, these tips might help you to define goals for your parenting model, as well as some basic goals for your child's upbringing.

How will communication be handled?

The way that you communicate with your ex is very important. Decide now how most conversations will be handled. For basic information, you might decide that texts, emails or other written forms of communication are best. More detailed or important points could require that you speak in person or on the phone.

Make sure that you include something in the communication rules and goals that says your children are never expected to act as messengers. All communication should take place directly between the adults in the case so there aren't any miscommunications.

What happens if the child has an unexpected expense?

The expense of raising a child is fairly high. When the child has unexpected expenses, such as uninsured medical expenses, you need to have a plan in place to get those covered. Many expenses will be shared by you and your ex. Having a plan for how payments and reimbursements will happen can reduce the stress you will feel when you have to cover these. Make sure to spell things out as clearly as possible so that you can refer back to these instructions if there is ever a question about what is going to happen.

Who will make important decisions for the children?

The decision making powers are important, but you can't become focused on a "you versus your ex" situation. Instead, think about how you can work as a team to make decisions about the child's health care, education, faith and extracurricular activities. Even if one parent has the decision making power, getting the other parent's input might be beneficial. This is another area where setting clear goals will provide a measure of relief that you're taking the appropriate steps.

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