When you and your ex are trying to work out a parenting plan, there is a chance that you aren’t going to agree on everything. Once that main parenting plan is worked out, you might have to work together to come up with decisions about various aspects of the children’s life.

Not being able to come to agreements about the children is stressful. Coming up with a plan for how you will handle these matters can mitigate stress while continuing to move toward a resolution.

Write out your ideal resolution

Think about the situation and write out what you think the ideal resolution would be. Often, this will include more than one point. Determine which points aren’t open to negotiations as far as you are concerned. Since you know that you will have to negotiate, make sure that you do leave some room for compromise. This might mean that you have to start your side with more conditions or terms than what you are actually willing to accept. Trying to play hardball in a custody situation isn’t ever going to end in a good way.

Consider the options your ex presents

Sometimes, you can be so focused on the solutions that you thought of that you don’t realize how your ex’s might work. One of the keys to being able to negotiate with your ex is that both adults must be willing to honestly consider all the options the other person is offering. You might have to take time to think about certain ones, but as you do so, make sure that you are thinking about what is best for the kids.

Head to court if necessary

If there are major decisions that need to be made, but you can’t come to an agreement with your ex, you may need to head to court. Typically, parents will try methods like mediation before going to court because they don’t have any say in how the court will resolve the situation. It is also possible that there will need to be a custody evaluation to help the court determine how to rule.

Child custody cases are rarely easy for the people going through them. Above all, you have to make sure that your children have what they need to thrive.