Child custody questions

3 Unexpected Issues in Custody Negotiations

Couples May Not Anticipate These 3 Topics as Potential Child Custody Conflicts

Negotiating a child custody arrangement is one of the biggest steps in the divorce process. Some parents begin the process thinking that it will be fairly simple, only to discover that the details can be more difficult to work out than they anticipated. In other cases, the parents already have a parenting plan, but as life changes, their plan becomes unworkable. No matter what situation you find yourself in, seeking the help of a child custody lawyer can help you get to the other side and ensure you have a solid plan for success.


1. Extracurricular Activities

When negotiating custody, most parents will focus on the larger concerns such as school and holiday schedules. Unfortunately, after-school sports and other activities can suddenly cause significant challenges for custody arrangements, especially as children get older and these activities become more demanding. In turn, this can place greater demands on the child’s transportation needs and may impact the child’s residential schedule. The issues can become particularly difficult when one parent really wants the child to participate in a specific activity, and the other parent does not – instead, they see the activity as a way of depriving them of their time with the child. 

Along with extracurricular activities, comes possible equipment fees that may need to be discussed and possibly included within the parenting plan. Ensuring pick-up and drop-off times for these activities are communicated is also vital to ensure the best interests of the child. Since all of these variables can bring about complications, be sure to consult your family lawyer for guidance on how to best manage these situations.

2. Behavioral Rules

Many custody disputes occur over what the child may be allowed to do or not to do when at each parent’s house. What one parent may consider to be permissible may be at odds with what the other parent deems appropriate. This tends to be more of an issue as the child gets older. Some common examples are as follows: 

  • Clothing choices
  • Piercings
  • Dating
  • Curfew
  • Driving

These issues can create conflict between the parents. Unfortunately, there are some household rules that are impossible to enforce, but trying to keep as much consistency as possible is recommended. Learning to pick your battles will help keep the relationship civil and allow you to focus on the matters that are most important. No matter what rules are broken, be sure to avoid talking negatively about each other in front of the children and never make them the messenger.

3. Religion

Religion can be another unexpected source of conflict when it comes to child custody. One reason is that it is not uncommon for one parent to move away from a shared faith after the divorce. Another reason is that people change over time, and religion can become more or less important to people. 

For people who are serious about their faith, religion plays a very important role in their lives and they want to share their faith with their children. The other parent may reject that religion or object to some of its requirements. This can lead to significant conflict that can be difficult for the parents to resolve between themselves. If you have found yourself in this situation, be sure to consult with an expert for assistance.

At Seattle Divorce Services, we help our clients regain perspective and find solutions to some of their most difficult issues. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 206-784-3049 to schedule an appointment with a seasoned Seattle child custody lawyer.