When parents end their romantic relationships and begin new lives as single people, they often continue to struggle over the care and custody of their shared children. Whether the disputes center on child custody or child support, many of these Pennsylvania residents will end up taking the matters before courts of law. The outcome of any given hearing is impossible to accurately predict, and all parents should make an effort to avoid asking family court judges to determine what is in their children’s best interests.
In many cases, parents can work out a child support or custody agreement on their own, outside of a court of law. Doing so ensures that the resulting agreement will reflect the needs and desires of both parents and not be arbitrarily assigned by a judge who knows little about the family’s structure or specific needs. The first step in reaching an agreement is for both parents to sit down and begin discussing the issues at hand.
It is imperative that both parents realize that there is a degree of cooperation required to reach an agreement. It is rarely possible to resolve custody or support issues in a way that leaves both sides feeling as though they have “won.” In fact, approaching the discussions with a goal of “winning” is not the best way to begin. The focus should always remain on the child or children. When both parents are able to redirect their efforts toward the needs of their kids, the outcome is usually far more beneficial to all involved.
In many cases, Pennsylvania residents can work through some, if not all, of their child custody and child support issues on their own. Some will still want to have attorneys look over the resulting agreements before signing, and many are comforted by having family law professionals to call with any questions or concerns. It should also be said that not every former couple will be able to place their children’s best interests first and resolve their differences in a collaborative manner, and they will eventually be faced with the need to go to court.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Eliminating Child Support Debt by Improving Relationships“, Mark Echols, March 4, 2016