One of the hardest parts of a divorce for Arizona parents can be dealing with child custody issues and the effect the divorce has on their children. However, good co-parenting practices can help give children a sense of security and stability despite the upheaval.
Children will wonder whether they can go on loving both of their parents or if they are the cause of the divorce. Parents can reassure them by encouraging them to build a relationship with both of them and telling them they had nothing to do with the split. Children may be anxious about how holidays and birthdays will change. If parents can still spend these occasions together, it can be helpful so children do not have to attend two events and feel as though they must choose between their parents. Even if this is not possible, parents should be aware that eventually they will have to be at some of the same events, such as a child’s graduation.
Children may sometimes need to talk through a conflict with the other parent, and parents should try to approach this as they would a conflict with any other family member. It can also help children if parents are able to agree on consistent rules between their households.
Ideally, parents may be able to work out a custody and visitation plan out of court, and their respective attorneys can help with the negotiations. Parents may agree to share physical custody, or one may have sole custody while the other has visitation rights. In most cases, parents have joint legal custody, which gives them both the right to determine the choices for the child’s health care, religious upbringing and other important issues. If the parents must go to litigation, a judge will use the standard of the best interests of the child to determine custody arrangements.