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A fair custody agreement may still be hard

You and your spouse are working on a parenting plan and a child custody agreement. You want to agree on something instead of just letting the court decide.

If you go into it expecting to be happy with the solution once it's fair, you could be disappointed. A fair solution can still be very hard for both parents -- and the children -- to deal with.

One woman talked about her first weekend alone, without her child. She and her husband had agreed to a setup that seemed very, very fair on paper. In that sense, she was happy with it.

But that first weekend, she could barely leave the house. She couldn't stop thinking about the child. She kept crying. She even rushed over to a nearby park when she knew her ex and her child were there, just to see them.

She had no concerns about her ex. She knew he was a great dad and that the child was safe, happy and healthy. She saw them having a good time at the park and everything she knew was confirmed. Plus, the child was only gone for a few days.

But it was still so hard to deal with, especially at first. It felt unnatural, she said.

The key here is to make sure you have the right expectations when you are working on that parenting plan. Don't assume you're going to be thrilled with the result and that it will be easy for you. It may still be quite difficult, but it may also be fair.

As you work through it, remember to consider your own legal rights and the child's best interests. Try to find that fair solution, despite the emotional hurdle it presents.

Source: NY Times, "Shared Custody: So Even on Paper, So Hard on the First Night," Jessica Ciencin Henriquez, accessed Aug. 10, 2017

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