Child Custody: Building Parenting Agreements That Work

Child Custody: Building Parenting Agreements That Work

by Mimi E. Lyster
     
 

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Working out a fair and realistic custody agreement is one of the most difficult tasks for parents going through a divorce or separation. Child Custody is the only book to show separating or divorcing parents how to overcome obstacles and build their own win-win custody agreements. A professional mediator, author Mimi Lyster sets out 40 issues separating parents

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Overview

Working out a fair and realistic custody agreement is one of the most difficult tasks for parents going through a divorce or separation. Child Custody is the only book to show separating or divorcing parents how to overcome obstacles and build their own win-win custody agreements. A professional mediator, author Mimi Lyster sets out 40 issues separating parents typically face, and presents all the options to resolving them. Child Custody walks you through all the factors you must consider, including: medical care education religious training living arrangements holidays money issues dealing with changes in an existing agreement Child Custody includes checklists and worksheets to make it easy to put together a comprehensive agreement. It also covers custody law in all 50 states and includes fill-in-the-blank custody agreement. The updated 4th edition is completely reorganized — making a parenting agreement is even easier with step-by-step instructions and easy-to-understand information.

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Editorial Reviews

American Baby
...takes you through the nitty-gritty of arranging custody...
New York Daily News
...clear, practical advice on identifying everyone's concerns, and strategies for effective negotiations.
Dallas Morning News
Ms. Lyster... has isolated 40 common issues and battlefield-tested suggestions for resolving them.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780873379205
Publisher:
NOLO
Publication date:
11/28/2003
Edition description:
4th Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.55(d)

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Introduction

Before getting started on your parenting plan, you should understand the context in which your parenting decisions will be made.

You Are Not Alone

For the last quarter of a century, the expectation that two people would meet, marry, raise a family and grow old together has changed. Studies over the past 10 years have confirmed that couples who divorce will be most likely to do so after about seven years of marriage, and that two-thirds of these divorcing families will include at least one child under the age of six. Statistics also show that more than a million children each year for the past 25 years have lived through a divorce.

Other researchers have commented on the changing structure of the family. During the last 35 years, the divorce rate has quadrupled and births outside of marriage have increased by 22%. Many families relocate every few years, which deprives these families of the benefits of living close to extended family. Researchers predict that nearly half of all babies born today will spend some time living in a one-parent family. A family in which biological parents stay together and raise their children is now only true for about one-third of all couples. The new reality is that most parents will never marry, will marry and later divorce or will create their families through artificial insemination or adoption.

Keep Your Parenting Plan Focused on Your Children

You and your children's other parent are about to undertake a difficult but very important project: making decisions about your parenting arrangements that will be the best possible ones for your children. Of course, it may be hard to separate the desire to have nothing more to do with your ex from the task at hand. After all, separation and divorce exist to solve adult problems, not meet children's needs.

Even if your separation or divorce will be better for your children in the long run, for the short term, most children feel that things are worse. Divorce or separation can shake a child's confidence that he or she will continue to be loved, cared for and safe. This is true even when children understand the reasons behind the decision.

You and the other parent can help your children by using this book to develop an agreement that focuses on meeting your children's individual needs. The more attention you pay to those needs, the more likely you are to build an agreement that works for all of you.

You and the other parent must honestly assess your relationship as parents and your ability to work together. To keep your agreement focused on your children, you must be willing to trust each other and set aside your anger, frustration and pain, at least for a while. If you've just separated, you may think it will be impossible to trust and cooperate with the other parent. Most find, though, that trustful and cooperative relationships usually evolve over time. (See Section C, below.) One of the most effective strategies for moving toward this kind of relationship is to build on points of agreement until you have crafted a comprehensive parenting plan.

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