With all of the memories, shared possessions and strong emotions; going through the divorce process can be difficult. When minor-aged children are involved, the divorce process can quickly escalate and result in both parents saying and doing things they will later regret. While all parents love their children and can become overly protective at times, when it comes to sorting out child custody and visitation matters, taking an obstinate stance only serves to harm a child and make future co-parenting that much more difficult.

Child custody battles may ensue for a number of reasons. A mother may disapprove of a father’s parenting style and therefore fight for primary custody, a spouse may be scorned after learning of an ex’s affair and vow to make a divorce difficult or parents may have experienced such a breakdown in communication that they are simply no longer able to agree on anything. Regardless of the reasons behind a high-conflict child custody battle, it’s important that parents truly understand the repercussions.

When children are involved, ex-spouse’s will forever be tied to one another. Co-parents must be able to effectively communicate, negotiate and decide upon matters related to holiday schedules, discipline, academics, extra-curricular activities and a host of other issues surrounding a child. Engaging in a high-conflict custody battle now will likely make a future co-parenting relationship more contentious and difficult.

Parents who opt to fight over child custody matters often fail to recognize the damage they are inflicting upon their child. Regardless of a child’s age, he or she will know that mom and dad are angry and upset. What’s more, a child is likely to realize that they are the source of all the conflict, anger and sadness. This revelation alone is enough to damage a child emotionally and psychologically.

While it can be difficult to make concessions when it comes to child custody matters, divorcing parents would be wise to recognize that, when possible, a child benefits from having both parents their life. The amount of time, energy, anger, frustration and money that’s wasted during a child custody battle would be better spent seeking counseling and working to find a way to ensure for a happier and more harmonious family unit.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorcing Parents: 10 Questions to Ask Before Fighting Over the Kids,” Rosalind Sedacca, July 21, 2014