minimize custody conflict
Keep the focus where it should be, on her.

By Carl Roberts

Custody conflict is never in the best interest of a child. Almost always, custody battles are focused on the self-interests of one or both of the parents. Usually the conflict is about money, control or some sort of emotional justice a parent is seeking.

Custody and child support have long been controversial subjects. Differing and often strongly opposing points of view can fuel dramatic passion on both sides of any discussion.  However, what we can all agree on is that the conflict between parents is never in the best interest of the child!

In the current system of contested custody, children are all too often treated as prizes and pawns. Whether consciously or not, most all children caught in the middle are emotionally abused to one degree or another by one or both parents. Check out Helping Children Thrive video on for a better understanding.

The Problem with parenting plans

We are way overdue for new approaches to establishing parenting plans and determining child support.  Most legal professionals have had cases where reasonable parents could have agreed to a 75/25 type of parenting plan. Then after reviewing the child support guidelines one parent decided to fight for 50/50.  In some cases, couples litigate over a single overnight when the difference in child support will be far less than what was spent on the process. 

It’s important to remember that parents who reach agreement on parenting plans and child support outside of court typically experience much less conflict. They are more flexible with one another and their children usually have better relationships with both parents.

Secret to minimizing conflict

There is a secret to helping more families reach more effective agreements on parenting plans with less conflict. Remove the financial incentives of custody!

Counting overnights to determine child support puts children between parents as a prize to be fought for. Inappropriate “lifestyle” language in the statutes only adds more fuel to the conflict fire.

Most every parent wants to support their child to the best of their ability. But no one wants to support their ex through child support. The solution: emphasizing the child’s well-being and de-emphasizing benefits to the ex. By separating money issues from parenting issues, both issues are more easily solved – and considerable custody conflict is avoided.

There is a smarter option. One that enables parents to determine the best parenting plan for their family by not counting or focusing on overnights. It’s a plan that provides a framework to share in all child related expenses. And a plan that acknowledges each parent’s investment in their child’s future.

SplitSmart offers this plan in a way that saves time and reduces cost for parents while helping attorneys and mediators achieve the best outcome for everyone in the family.

This vastly different approach to today’s adversarial system may require a shift in paradigms for some. However, we owe it to our children to find a better way through divorce that involves less conflict and more harmony between their parents.

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Carl Roberts is the founder of SplitSmart, an innovative new app designed to simplify and reduce conflict about divorce custody and financial issues. Both parents, attorneys, mediators  and other divorce professionals benefit from this low cost, time-saving tool. Learn more about SplitSmart at