Image of a man and woman helping their daughter walk.

Raising kids can be hard enough already. Throwing in something as divisive, complicated, and emotional as joint custody can make it feel like the odds are stacked against you at times. 

Here at The Law Office of Ronald Kossack, we can help. Throughout the Tempe area — Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa — we specialize in family law. From child custody to child support, divorce, prenuptial agreements, and more, you can count on us for family law. 

Our family law attorney has practiced family law for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, he has developed unparalleled expertise and demonstrated his passion for helping others through difficult times. If you are in the Tempe area and are ready to learn more about family law, are getting started with a divorce, or need help modifying a child custody agreement, then you can count on us. Contact our law firm today to get started!

Check Your Schedule

First and foremost, it is important to be completely realistic about your schedule when determining the best route for child custody. Your family law lawyer will do everything in their power that will be in the best interest of you and your child, and the court will side with what is in the best interest of the child. Because of this, you need to work with your family law attorney to determine what that is! 

Evaluate the needs and interests of your child to make sure they’re met. Analyze your children’s ages, personalities, extracurricular and academic activities, the family schedule overall, your career and social commitments, current and future childcare arrangements, and the distance between your home and your ex’s home. All of these will be vital factors to consider when determining joint custody and what will work best for your family.

Communicate Well

Next up: communication. No matter whether it’s legal separation, divorce, child custody, child support, or what-have-you, the importance of communication simply cannot be overstated. With your ex, work to find a communication method that works well for you. This could be meeting in-person, talking on the phone, or communicating via text. If both parties are communicative and open, then joint custody will be smoother for everyone.

Pro Tip: One added bonus of communicating well — besides having more peace and less confusion in your life — will be what it teaches your children. This will set a good example for them and model good communication that they can use with you and with others in their lives; this will give them the example they need to talk about concerns, questions, or other big emotions during the divorce and custody process.

Honor the Parenting Plan

It is important for you to always follow the parenting plan that was laid forth by the court. This plan was agreed to for a reason, and you are legally required to follow it. There may, of course, be exceptions and days that differ here and there. With proper communication, these slight changes will be no more than minor bumps in the road and actually work in the interest of your children! If there are problems or complications later down the road, you will want to ensure that you always worked to follow the parenting plan to the best of your ability.

Modify the Parenting Plan If Necessary

Of course, there may come a time when the parenting plan simply isn’t working. If you or your ex change jobs, your children’s needs change, or other changes occur, then it could be possible to modify the parenting plan with the help of a family law attorney. After all, it may not be reasonable for something that was set forth when your child was 5 years old to work as well when they’re 15 years old. With the help of a family law lawyer, you may be able to consider your parenting plan a “living document,” at least in a fashion. This means that, by going through the proper channels as dictated by family law, you could modify the parenting plan to truly be in the best interest of your children — and what those interests are now instead of what they were 10 years ago.

Put Your Children First

Through everything, you want to make sure to put your children first. While divorce, legal separation, child custody, and more may be hard for you (and understandably so), you are more equipped to handle them than your children are. Your children don’t have the same life experience, emotional capacity, and understanding as you. While they can certainly handle serious topics and emotions, they may need some help to get there. 

Because of this, it’s vital that you (and your ex) put your children first. This could include everything from not always being the “fun parent” and instead working on homework and enforcing discipline to always being open for a conversation, even on your off days. In the long run, this will help your child have a healthy relationship with both parents and develop into a well-rounded adult. That being said, make sure you’re taking care of your mental health during the divorce and custody process as well.

Respect Your Ex

Last but certainly not least, be sure to respect your ex. They may be your ex and you divorced for serious reasons, but they are still the parent of your children. It is important for your children to see a decently healthy relationship between the two of you and not be privy to conversations where you badmouth your ex. This could lead to your children feeling guilty or confused due to their still-loving relationship with your ex. If moments of frustration or depression rise to the surface, try to take care of it away from your children.

Get Help With Family Law in Tempe Today

If you’re in need of help with family law, then The Law Office of Ronald Kossack can help. We have clients throughout the Tempe area, and we’re experts with more than 20 years of experience in family law. Contact us today to get started with the divorce and custody process or to modify your current parenting plan.