Negotiating custody is rarely an easy endeavor. You must consider your schedule, the schedule of your ex, the needs of your child and the legal parameters, too. All of these factors make visitation stressful, and they can be disheartening, too, when you are simply trying to keep your kids’ lives as stable as possible. It is important, though, that you remain committed for making custody work for the sake of your children.

According to the California Cognitive Behavioral Institute, custody battles can negatively affect a child’s well-being. Visitation is a collaborative process, and it is essential to stay focused on what matters most. This means being aware of common mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Selfish priorities

It should go without saying that your own interests need to take a backseat to your kids’ when you are in the midst of custody negotiations. Custody demands that all parties make sacrifices, and you will certainly have to rearrange the routine of your life. It is fair for you to expect your ex to do the same. If one party resists compromise, it will eventually cause a conflict.

2. Failure to plan

In addition to compromising, planning is perhaps the most essential part of successfully negotiating custody. Nothing will throw a wrench in your kids’ lives like waiting until the last minute to communicate with your ex or make visitation requests. If you know that your schedule is going to change next month, or if you know that you have a trip planned, let your ex know as soon as possible to avoid stress.

3. Overlooking kids

Parents often get so caught up in accommodating their own schedules and emotional needs that they can somehow overlook the needs of their kids. Above all else, a custody agreement should benefit your children and serve their health and well-being. Parents should never force a child to make sacrifices for their own convenience.