Understanding the Benefits of the Amicable Resolution of Child Custody Disputes

child custody disputesIf you are a parent involved in a Florida marital dissolution, your relationship with your children typically will be a significant concern.  Depictions of toxic highly contested child custody disputes in popular movies and television shows can perpetrate the illusion that most child custody cases are bitterly contested.  However, many parents are able to navigate the challenging emotional issues that can interfere with parents’ communication during a divorce to achieve a mutually agreeable parenting plan.

When an amicable timeshare arrangement can be constructed based on reasonable negotiations of both parents, both the parents and kids generally will benefit.  While the benefit to kids of having their parents deal with one another in a positive cooperative fashion might be apparent, the parents also benefit because they will tend to arrive at more stable and acceptable parenting plan arrangements than a parenting plan imposed by a judge after highly contested litigation of custody issues.

While there are certainly custody cases that cannot be resolved amicably, we have provided an overview of benefits that can be derived from the amicable resolution of custody disputes:

  • Preservation of Financial Resources: When parties are involved a contested divorce, high conflict custody cases can be one of the most costly aspects of a divorce.  A child custody evaluator may need to be appointed with the cost of the custody evaluation paid by the parents.  If the parents cannot cooperate on simple parenting issues, the parties may be forced to return to court to handle matters that are often resolved informally between the parties and/or their Florida child custody attorneys without the need for a court hearing.  If the case is particularly egregious, the case may even require a full scale trial.
  • Lack of Finality: While the divorce process can be amicable, a marital dissolution is still a chapter in the lives of most that they would like to conclude.  If the judge is forced to impose a parenting plan, one or both parties may be extremely unsatisfied with the judgment.  This dissatisfaction may result in one or both party’s violating the terms of the judgment so that contempt proceedings are necessary to obtain compliance by the offending party.  Further, mutual discontent with the parenting plan also may make the parents more inclined to repeatedly return to court to seek modification of the terms of the custody and timeshare arrangements.  While a parent must be able to establish a substantial and material change in circumstances to justify an actual  change in the judgment, a parent may continue to file modification requests making it difficult for the parents’ to move on.
  • Positive Communication between Parents: When parents develop the ability to communicate and deal with each other effectively, this communication will permit the parties to more effectively communicate about issues concerning the kids and to coordinate their efforts when issues arise.  Parents who are able to communicate effectively can obtain reasonable adjustments in the parenting plan without the need for court intervention.
  • Minimizing Adverse Impact on Kids: While the divorce process is difficult for kids, it can be much easier when kids are shielded from animosity between their parents.  A wealth of studies have shown that children fair better when their parents deal with each other in an amicable and reasonable way than during bitterly contested custody cases.  While divorce may end marital status, it does not terminate the need to continue co-parenting so a functional co-parenting relationship can facilitate more effective parenting.

Because Florida child custody lawyers recognize the value of the amicable resolution of custody issues, they can help you navigate the emotional roadblocks that often derail the constructive negotiation of parenting plans when parties proceed without legal representation in custody cases.

Gray divorce is increasing

Over the past couple of decades, divorce rates among people over 50 years old have doubled in the US.  When individuals who are middle-aged or older get divorced, sometimes it’s a step they planned for years; they’ve waited, for instance, for their children to leave the house first.  In other cases, they never anticipated that their marriages would end and that they’d need to make major adjustments to their lives at a point when they thought they’d have more stability. In any case, open attitudes about divorce, and frequent coverage in the media have created a more permissive environment for divorce. Ages ago people expected to go to their grave within the same marriage. Now it is more acceptable to start a new life at any age.

A ‘gray divorce,’ such as it’s sometimes called, poses its own unique challenges.  One major issue that comes up is how to divide the assets that the couple has built up together over the years.  Whereas younger people who get divorced sometimes don’t even own a home or have much in the way of savings, it’s more typical for an older and established couple to have their own home, more substantial savings and a wider variety of accounts, and funds set aside for retirement and medical expenses.  What are the criteria for an equitable split of assets? Which assets are less desirable? These questions will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by expert lawyers, to be sure that both parties are receiving fair treatment. Another issue is directly related to the age of the divorcing couple; they do not have time to correct for major mistakes in a division of assets.

Other issues involve changing the will and making other alterations to estate planning.  For instance, one spouse may have designated the other to make important life-or-death medical decisions for them in the event that they’re mentally incapacitated; with the divorce, they may want to give someone else these powers, such as an adult child.  Beneficiaries listed in a will could also change, and you’d need to revise your estate planning in light of the assets you’re left with after the divorce.

Other adjustments may be social. You may feel cut adrift from the circle of friends that you shared with your spouse.  If you need to move to a new home, you may feel as if your life is starting over again.  And if you’re unused to living alone, it may take you time to adjust to doing various things by yourself.  One important consideration to make is that if you have little experience working on personal finances, and tended to leave such matters to your spouse, you’ll need to learn quickly to manage them so that you don’t get taken advantage of.

When undergoing a divorce in the later years of your life, be sure to have a good attorney on your side, so that your best interests will be met.  You don’t want to harm yourself, and ruin your chances of stability in the golden years of your life, by agreeing to a divorce settlement that’s unfavorable to you.