Child Custody Chronicles Emotions, Negotiations, and Legal Insights

Behind every child custody case is a parent who is trying to do their best to manage their emotions. You know that because of your child custody case, you may have some realities to face that you would prefer not to. At the same time, you may also gain rights, duties, and time with your child that you otherwise would not have. Both outcomes are possible. You just don’t know which one is going to be your outcome. It is not an ideal situation to find yourself in but you love your child and are willing to do whatever it takes to secure your relationship with him or her. 

We are all familiar with the parts of a child custody case that involve different issues in Texas family law. However, while the law is important in a family case there are emotions and other aspects which are just as impactful. From how to negotiate your child custody case to be able to manage those laws, today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is for you. We are going to talk to you about how to balance the emotional, legal, and negotiation aspects of your child custody case. 

Remember to keep everything in perspective. It is easy in a highly contested child custody case to put so much pressure on yourself. Imagine that you are fighting a battle against your opposing party, the courts, and life in general. The reality of your situation is very likely to be far different than this, however. When you are in the moment every decision made can feel like the entirety of your case rides on that moment. As experienced family law attorneys we understand this feeling and want to express that it is normal to feel overwhelmed or discouraged during certain points in your case. 

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here for you. We are attorneys who have the heart of a teacher. What do we mean by this? We will help teach you about what you need to know in your child custody case. The law, your circumstances, and how the two interact will be the primary lessons you learn in this case. However, we also understand that emotions are an important part of a child custody case. We keep all this in mind on our way to helping you make good decisions for your children and yourself. 

The full range of emotions is on display in a child custody case

When a person finally makes up their mind to file a child custody case, I like to say that this person has had their “I’ve had it!” moment. This means that you would have reached your breaking part as far as acknowledging that whatever your current circumstances are, they are not working. Maybe you never get to see your child other than on an occasional meal during the week. Or, you may have never received a dime in child support from your co-parent despite his promises to the contrary. 

Whatever it is, when you acknowledge that you have a major problem in your life and your child’s it may be time to go ahead and file for a child custody case. It takes resolve- courage, acceptance, and fortitude- to be able to take this step. It is no small step that you are taking. Many people are in your shoes and are choosing not to file this case that you are considering. You can take that leap and move forward on behalf of your child. When you reach that point, please consider contacting the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We can help you to take advantage of your desire to move forward in your case so that you don’t lose any time. 

How do you tell your children about the case?

Whether yours is a child custody or divorce case you will need to talk to your children about the case and what it can mean to your family. Older children can be spoken to more openly and in some detail. Elementary-aged children may only need to receive basic details about any changes in their lives that they may experience because of the family law case being filed. Finally, small children may not need to have the subject addressed at all. 

You can make up your mind on how to talk to your children about the situation. For older children, they may experience a change in their routine as far as seeing both their parents. In other cases, this may be a matter that has little impact on your child. It is up to you how to share the information with your children. In a divorce scenario, you and your spouse may be able to sit down together and talk to your children as a team about the case. Think about it and be intentional. 

Do not lean too heavily on your children for support

Your children are in your life every day and are the reason you have filed your child custody case. However, there can be the temptation to lean too heavily on the kids for support. This is something that you should avoid. Bear in mind that your children are not fully mature and may be having problems of their own in handling issues related to the child custody case. This is not a burden that they need to bear in support of you and the case.

Rather, you should look to your support system of adults for emotional support during this case. Reach out to friends and family that you can trust and are comfortable with. You are not burdening these people. You are relying on a person that you trust for help during a difficult time. In turn, this person that you are relying upon may come to rely upon you for something later. This is what human relationships are built on. Reach out to people that you can trust and see who is willing to be a friend during a tough time. 

When should you start negotiating the case?

In an ideal world, you would start to negotiate with your co-parent as early as possible in your case. Sometimes you may even find yourself in a position where you can begin negotiations before a case begins. For example, let’s consider a child custody case that will be part of a larger divorce case. After attempting marriage counseling it has become apparent to you and your spouse that your marriage is not salvageable. You have put in the work and were not able to find a solution to your problems. 

At that point, the two of you have developed proper communication skills to be able to figure out how to manage your frustrations with the other person. This will come in handy during your divorce because communication with one another will continue to be important throughout your divorce and into the rest of your lives. Remember that you are raising children together. That responsibility does not come to an end just because you are getting a divorce. 

Start to talk to your spouse in a situation like this as early as you can. What are your main issues when it comes to co-parenting? How are you going to manage dividing possession time during the divorce? Where will each of you be living after the divorce? If you can begin working on these logistical issues now you can better serve your children during and after the divorce. Negotiation can show the other person that you are serious about being open and fair with him or her. Many times, this is all it takes to make your child custody or divorce case less angry and more cooperative. 

When it comes to child custody negotiations you can approach the case similarly. If you and your co-parent are not married, you may not be living together anyway. In that case, you can talk with him or her about any of the issues impacting your life. Most often child support is foremost among those issues. Either you are having problems receiving child support consistently or you are asking for varying amounts of support from time to time. In any event, showing that you are willing to discuss these issues is a sign of good faith. 

You may be surprised to learn that your co-parent has good intentions when it comes to these issues. Many times, a co-parent will just have a different perspective when it comes to negotiating. He or she may have misinterpreted something from you and made incorrect assumptions about the positions that you are taking. Simple communication- trying to clear the air- may be all it takes to bring the two of you to the negotiating table.

An attorney can help with negotiations

When in doubt, an attorney can assist you with the negotiation process. To be sure, the old myth about attorneys is how we just make a bad situation even worse. Lawyers only want to make more money, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Attorneys want to help clients arrive at settlements sooner rather than later. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will help you balance the twin objectives of arriving at a fair settlement and doing so in a time-efficient manner. 

To be sure, you can become fatigued at the negotiations between yourself and your co-parent. After weeks of running into similar issues, you can feel like you just want the case to be done and over with. Not worrying any longer about the subject matter of your case isn’t unreasonable when you reach certain stages of negotiations. However, this is not a wise perspective to take in the long run. What feels good at the moment can actively work against you in the long run of your case. 

Instead, take the time to remember what you are negotiating for and who will be benefiting from these negotiations. Your child is the one who stands to benefit the most from negotiations. The more often you realize this the better off your child and you will both be. Review your goals with your attorney regularly. Do your goals need to shift? What about the methods you have chosen to employ to arrive at those goals? Each family law case is different and the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will work diligently with you to achieve whatever goals you have set out for yourself and your family.

After mediation look closely at your Mediated Settlement Agreement

The Mediated Settlement Agreement, or MSA for short, is completed at the end of mediation by the mediator. The MSA contains the terms of your settlements and will be the basis for the final orders to be drafted either by your attorney or by your co-parent’s attorney. This surprises some people who assume that the mediated settlement agreement will become the final order of the case. Rather, the MSA will be the basis for those final orders but are drafted using conversational language and not the language that can be included for a judge’s signature.

A lot of misunderstanding can occur between the mediated settlement agreement being drafted and the final orders being drafted. First, look over the MSA before you sign it after mediation. If something does not make sense to you then you should take the time to review it and ask questions. Do not assume that either the attorney or the mediator is incapable of making mistakes. The MSA was written up quickly by the mediator, so it is very possible that he or she made a mistake in drafting the document. 

The best time to ask questions about the MSA is in mediation and before you sign the document. Once you sign the MSA it is very difficult (nearly impossible) to go back on what you had signed. Sometimes there will be minor mistakes that were included. You need to be the one to find those errors. Your attorney will keep an eye out for these things, but you can review them, too. Remember- be accountable for your case. This is your life that is impacted by these things. 

Legal insights offered by experienced attorneys in a child custody case

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to be able to assist you, walk with you, and serve you in your child custody case. There is nothing else we would rather be doing than walking alongside your family through whatever you are going through. Take the stress, the anxiety, and the uncertainty of a family law case and then put that on our shoulders. We will bear that burden with you. 

Along the way, our attorneys will be able to provide you with context, help, and information that can serve you through whatever circumstances you are walking through at that time. Having trouble keeping the issues straight in your case? Work with our attorneys and staff. We know how to organize a case, develop a winning case strategy, and then implement that strategy in a way that is effective for your family. 

Maximizing the knowledge that we have in the law alongside the ability to teach that information to you is what we will aim to do in your case. Without question, translating information into knowledge is one of the single most important responsibilities that any attorney will have headed into a child custody case. What good is all that knowledge in the mind of your attorney if he or she cannot transmit that information to their client? 

That is exactly how we look at the situation. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are only as good as our ability to help our clients. When you are ready to sit down with one of our attorneys for a free-of-charge consultation then we will be happy to share a vision of your child custody case with you. We don’t know exactly what will happen in your case. What we do know is that some tips and methods can help you increase the likelihood that you will be able to accomplish your goals. 

Thank you for choosing to spend part of your day here with us on the blog for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations for people just like you. You have a lot on your mind. We aim to help our clients and ease their burdens. The rest of your life is not going to come to a screeching halt just because you have engaged in a child custody case. By working with our office, we can give you the time you need to attend not only to your case but to the rest of your life, as well.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case. 

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