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The gloves have come off and your divorce is heating up -- but you and your spouse should really think twice before you engage in a custody battle.

High-conflict divorces (and no divorce involving a custody battle avoids being "high-conflict") have long-lasting, detrimental effects on the kids. They can also be destructive emotionally and financially to the adults.

What can you do to avoid it? Here are some ideas:

1. Recognize that your child needs their other parent.

Absent situations involving abuse or neglect, kids thrive the best when they have both parents in their lives. Aim for a fair split of the parenting time that will nurture the relationship your child has with each of you.

2. Get temporary agreements in place as fast as possible.

Temporary orders can establish child support and divide parenting time, among other things, while a divorce is pending. They can also help reduce stress and stave off legal skirmishes by making everyone's obligations and rights clear.

3. Don't engage in negative behavior toward your spouse.

Putting your child in the middle of your fights with your spouse, venting to your child about the divorce or their other parent and dragging up every marital argument you've ever had will make a working co-parenting relationship with your spouse fall apart.

Also, keep in mind that nothing you post on the internet is ever really hidden. If you post a rant about your spouse on Facebook, it will get back to them -- and that could make negotiations over custody unnecessarily hostile.

An experienced California attorney can often serve as the voice of reason in a custody dispute. They can offer you objective guidance about your options and negotiate custody terms with your spouse on your behalf.

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