Child custody negotiations are sometimes heated discussions, but you don’t have to suffer through this. You and your ex can decide to put the children first and put your focus on doing what the kids need. This means you’ll have to put your differences aside and leave the other divorce disagreements aside for a bit, but you’ll likely find that doing this makes it much easier to deal with the custody matters.

One of the most important things you can do when you’re dealing with negotiating the parenting plan with your ex is to remember that even a spouse who wasn’t perfect can still be a good parent. There are times when these negotiations turn sour because the adults want to focus on the negative points of the marriage instead of thinking about how various things can help the children.

The only exception to this is if your ex was abusive or an addict. In those cases, their behavior during the marriage might play a role in what’s best for the children. You may have to bypass the collaborative methods of coming up with a parenting plan and turn to the court to make decisions about what’s best for the kids if either of those issues are present.

As you’re thinking of the parenting plan, remember to try to set it up for what the kids need now. You can always modify it down the road if their needs change. Focusing on what they need now might help you to come up with the terms faster, so they can get settled into their new normal way of life.