Ways to Make Joint Custody Work
Sharing custody of your children after a divorce is stressful for everybody involved, but it can be a lot worse if you are not prepared. Having to coordinate schedules, determining when the best times are for your children to visit each parent equally, dividing holiday time, and transporting your children between houses takes a lot of work to organize. If you are in the middle of a divorce or just entering joint custody for the first time, read below to ensure you, your ex-partner and your children are prepared for this new change.
Keep a Positive Attitude
It may be hard, but having a positive attitude when you are around your children and your ex-spouse goes a long way in keeping your children in better spirits. Even if you are by yourself with your children, never talk down about your ex-spouse when they are around. Children, especially if they are young, can pick up bad feelings about their other parent based on how you talk about them. At the end of the day, having joint custody is about making your children happy, so keep their emotions in mind every time you see them.
Be Open and Realistic About Your Schedule
If you and your ex-spouse lead very busy lives, you need to make sure you both know each other’s schedule to ensure your children get equal time with both of you. If you know you will be taking a business trip in a few months, ask your ex-spouse if you can see your children a bit more before and after the trip to make up for that time. You may also need to sacrifice some leisure activities to make time to see your children. Joint custody will require a lot of compromise and sacrifice, so make sure you and your ex-spouse know major events or trips to work around your schedules.
Keep an Open Channel of Communication
To ensure you are aware of each other’s schedule and if anything last minute comes up, you need to have open communication. With today’s technology, it’s very easy to keep in contact to discuss schedules and upcoming events. You can have email chains, Google Calendars or text as ways to keep in contact without calling or talking in person.
Listen to your Children
Your children will be going through a lot of emotions during your divorce as well. You should always listen to their concerns and ask them how they are doing. You should also be aware of their schedule. If they play sports during the week, you need to make sure somebody is available to take them to their games and practices. They may also want to go to birthday parties and sleepovers throughout the year that may compromise your joint custody schedule. When your children get older, you have to be supportive of their schedules when they start working part-time jobs and participating in other extracurricular activities.
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