Can Spouses Decide Custody Rules During Divorce Mediation?

It makes you feel terrible just thinking about it, but you’ve come to the conclusion that you may not be the best parent to retain custody of your children. You are in a new relationship, hoping to eventually remarry—and you’re not sure there’s room in your new home for three other people. You try to tell yourself that they’ll be better off, that they can still visit you whenever they want—but you can’t help but feel like you’re giving them away.

Should I Let My Spouse Have Full Custody of the Children?

Before you relinquish custody in divorce mediation, you should consider whether placing them with the other parent is the best thing for them, or the best thing for you. If you’re not sure, you should be able to honestly answer “yes” to these three points:

  • You believe that your spouse is a good parent. The first step toward deciding custody is that you must truly believe that your ex is a good parent. This means that your spouse can provide financially, emotionally, and spiritually for your children, that he or she will protect them, and that he is not abusive or neglectful.
  • Your spouse has the time to devote to the children. Even if your spouse has the ability to provide financially, he or she may spend too much time outside the home to be able to provide emotional support or effectively watch over your children.
  • Your spouse can provide an environment where the children will thrive. There are many things to consider about the house and location where your children grow up. One of the parents may live in the best school district and the other may be on a less dangerous side of town. You should think about which location is better suited to the children’s needs—not just now, but as they grow into teenagers and young adults.

You should remember that your relationship with your children does not have to suffer because they do not live with you. You should stay actively involved in your children’s lives and make yourself available to them whenever they need help. It is important to reinforce the idea that you will always be there for them. For more help with divorce mediation in Washington State, click the related links on this page or contact us to set up a private consultation.

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Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
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