This week on Cristina Radio, in connection with the whole Jackson family custody saga, I was able to weigh in on the importance of keeping an open mind with custody arrangements. The fact is that there can always be some change in circumstances that might necessitate a modification of the custody schedule.

As kids grow up, they can endure more time away from each parent, such that extended overnights and fewer transitions may become a more appealing arrangment for the family. Some children become very passionate about sports and/or academic activities, and the parents will need to work together to promote the child’s involvement in a variety of social opportunities. Divorced parents are also highly likely to remarry, and this change in the household dynamic has to be navigated very carefully– not in a vacuum, but rather with everyone involved.

The more open parents are to adapting as their family needs change, the better off everyone will be– especially the children. Asking courts to deal with these kinds of issues should really be the last resort– not only is the judicial system totally backlogged, but the adversarial nature of our legal system does little to promote goodwill within families.

Seeking the assistance of a family therapist is a far better route, where children actually get a voice, and the goal is to create a win-win solution for everyone. For some, it may take some work to appreciate the value of sitting down and openly discussing issues with others, but if we love our children and want them to be well-functioning adults, then teaching them to model our behavior as they see their parents work through family problems outside of court is probably one of the best life lessons we can give them.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.