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How parents can resolve child custody disputes more peacefully

Many Missouri residents are familiar with the issues that typically arise during divorce. When people discuss child custody disputes, they are generally referring to parents who are battling over certain issues such as visitation or particular custody arrangements. When a divorce is particularly contentious, drawing up a parenting plan can be difficult. To avoid this, parents should understand that they are the ones who hold the key to a successful parenting plan that determines both custody and visitation. Without their cooperation, child custody issues can prolong their entire divorce process.

The prevailing principle is that children's needs come first. Usually, one parent will become the custodial parent and the other will be the noncustodial parent, even when a joint custody arrangement is devised. Parents should also note that shared or 50-50 parenting is not always or necessarily equal. Both parents also need to understand that custody arrangements are subject to change from time to time and require both of them to be flexible and to adjust depending on the situation. To ensure minimal disruption of their children's lives even when custody arrangements change, parents should maintain a calendar of events for holidays such as Christmas, summer vacation and spring breaks that both can use to help keep stability in their children's lives.

By focusing on the best interests of their children, parents can ensure a smoother transition to a divorced family. Disagreements over custody should be resolved when children are not around or when they are asleep. Arguing in front of the kids can create anxiety for them.

When any custody or visitation issue cannot be resolved through negotiation, the both parents may have to turn to the court for child custody arrangements to be made. Legal professionals are also available to help construct a better custody arrangement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce lessons: 8 critical choices in making a positive split," John McElhenney, Aug. 5, 2014

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