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Child custody can be central concern for divorcing parents

Washington couples who are ending their marriages and who have young children may be more concerned about child custody than with any other issue. During a divorce, there are a number of issues that can arise, including spousal support and property division. However, child custody is often one of the most emotionally draining ones.

Loving parents want to protect their children from harm due to stress during a divorce. Dealing with child custody through a lengthy and contentious court battle can be emotionally painful to children, especially if they are exposed to ongoing struggles between their divorcing parents. However, it is possible to deal with child custody issues without a damaging war. Divorcing spouses can focus on their communication and put their children first as they draw up a parenting plan that addresses custody time.

Shared parenting has become an emerging trend. Of course, if abuse or other factors are at stake, joint custody may not be the best decision for the children and a different approach may be necessary. For children who are old enough, their own thoughts and opinions about parenting time can be critical. However parents are dealing with their divorce, it may be possible to negotiate a child custody solution that works for all family members.

Historically, divorce court judges would award the mother primary or sole custody, while the father was left with periodic visits in accordance with a schedule. However, more and more courts are recognizing that children generally do best when they have ample time with each parent. Even so, couples might want to have their respective attorneys assist in negotiating a parenting plan rather than leaving it up to the judge.

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