When you and your spouse separated, you rented an apartment or maybe a small condo. Right now, it’s all you can afford – at least until you decide what’s going to happen with the family home and you get your property division and other agreements worked out.
Now your spouse is fighting your attempts to seek shared custody of your child because they say there’s not sufficient space for the kids in your new home. You can’t agree on a custody arrangement, so a judge will have to decide. Is a small home going to prevent you from getting the parenting rights you deserve?
Making a small living space comfortable for your child
There’s a lot more to consider than the square footage of your home. What matters is whether your child will feel safe, comfortable and welcome there and have the privacy they’re entitled to have. There’s a lot you can do to show that you’re ensuring that. Let’s look at a few possibilities.
- If you can at least have two bedrooms, give your child the larger one – even if they’re only there a few nights a week. This will give them a room they can call their own, put all of their stuff in and decorate in their favorite colors.
- Make sure your child has privacy – especially if they’re of the opposite gender or getting into their preteen or teen years. It’s best if they can have their own bathroom or at least space in the sole bathroom where they can put their toiletries without having to intersperse them with yours. Let them make or buy an “occupied” sign for the door.
- Find ways to eliminate clutter. Some inexpensive shelves, toy boxes and cubbyholes can house a lot of things. Some clutter is normal while you’re playing, but having places to put things away can free up space for other activities.
- Embrace the outdoors. We have weather that’s perfect for outdoor activities all year. Why spend all of your time inside when you can go to a park, playground or hiking trail?
A judge will look at what’s in the best interests of your child. Having a parent who has given careful thought to how to make their home (no matter how small) welcoming and comfortable for their child will be at a big advantage. With experienced legal guidance, you can make a strong case for yourself.