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Fighting for your custody rights without hurting your kids

Going through California divorce will be very hard on you and your ex, as well as on the kids. In the average divorce, both parents want to maximize the amount of time they get to spend with their kids. That can often lead to bitter, contentious fighting before and during divorce proceedings.

The more intense the disagreements between you and your ex become, the harder the divorce may be on your kids. Thankfully, there are ways to advocate for your rights as a parent without doing emotional or psychological damage to your kids.

Agree with your ex that your kids don't need to see you argue

Once you separate and initiate divorce proceedings, chances are good that you and your ex will only see one another when you meet to exchange custody. These meetings can often become intensely emotional and devolve into arguments about custody terms and even the issues that led to the end of your marriage.

Unfortunately, that means that your kids are going to witness every cruel thing you say to one another and the intense emotional hangover you have after the argument. No matter how angry you and your ex are at each other, you should always work together to shield your children from the acrimony of divorce.

Agree to only discuss issues when your children are not present. In fact, commit to doing it through an intermediary or in writing to avoid saying things in the heat of the moment that will make everyone more upset.

Find a way to respect your ex as a parent

In addition to witnessing parents fighting, it can be traumatic for children to hear their parents disparage one another. While you may have issues about everything from their failure to observe bedtimes to the food they feed your children, you have to accept that you cannot control their parenting style.

You will work better as co-parents if you choose to be positive about one another in front of the kids. Encourage your children to respect and trust their other parents as well as you, and do your best to support their parenting strategy even when the kids are in your home.

Focus on what will make the kids happy, not what you want

Parents might feel like they win in a divorce if they are able to set custody agreements that, for example, allow them to have custody on major holidays and birthdays. However, your kids will probably feel much happier if they get to see both of their parents on all of those special days.

Even if it is only for a transitional 20 minutes between your party and the special event at your ex's house, finding a way to celebrate and work together as parents will be invaluable to your children and your relationship with them as they get older. Creating a parenting plan that protects your rights as a parent but focuses on the needs of your kids is one of the hardest but most important parts of a divorce.

If you find yourself struggling with your emotions or having a hard time focusing on what your kids need, talking with an attorney about the common custody outcomes in California divorces can remind you that you will likely end up sharing parenting time, regardless of how hard you fight. That added perspective can make it easier for you to agree to work together for the benefit of your kids.

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