In an ideal world, any time that a minor child’s parents realized that moving forward apart was the healthiest option for everyone, those parents would be in a strong position to resolve their differences amicably. However, for many reasons, an amicable approach to child custody matters simply isn’t a manageable or realistic option for many parents who need to resolve these issues.
Sometimes, a child custody situation can’t be resolved amicably. Under these circumstances, parents must appear before a judge and argue why their proposed solution to the custody situation better reflects their child’s best interests.
Which approach should you take?
If you and your co-parent generally get along and resolving your differences amicably is a realistic approach, you’ll want to keep your situation from becoming contentious if you can. If you can’t resolve your differences – likely through mediation or an attorney-led negotiation process – you’ll leave the fate of your custody case – and the parenting plan you’ll need to craft as part of your case – in the hands of a judge. This is not ideal.
If your child’s other parent is abusive, a narcissist or otherwise can’t or shouldn’t be “reasoned with,” it may be better for you and your child to entrust the likelihood of a just outcome to the court. Similarly, if you and the other parent simply can’t agree on what is best, you may have no other option than to ask a judge to decide the matter.
It’s important to understand that there is no “one-size-fits-all” way to navigate a child custody situation. You are neither right nor wrong for taking either approach. Although an amicable resolution is great if it is achievable and appropriate, there are times when the matter needs to be argued in court.