It’s not an easy task to develop a harmonious shared parenting arrangement that also works for everyone’s schedule. When it comes to making joint child custody work for you, your ex, and your children, we solicited the opinions of some of the most knowledgeable individuals on the subject—top experts in the field. Here are 9 tips to make joint child custody work.
When a court assigns joint custody, or shared custody, to both parents in a divorce, the child’s care and guardianship are transferred. When it comes to deciding on a child’s activities, academics, and religion, the court distinguishes between joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Following a divorce, it can take some time to work out how you and your ex will care for your children together—timetable coordination. You are dividing up the joys of the season and shifting children between homes. In divorce proceedings, it’s not always easy to agree with your ex-husband over child custody.
When it comes to a shared custody arrangement, we asked experts for their top tips.
Rule # 1: Speak only good words.
“Don’t speak ill about your ex,” experts (many of whom were divorced themselves) said repeatedly.
Because the child is made up of both you and your ex, badmouthing the ex will be internalized by the child. What you say about your ex will influence your child’s perception of themselves and their feelings.
When it comes to your ex, even if you don’t like them, your child still loves them since they’re your parents. No matter how valid or unjustified your feelings about your ex may be, keep them to yourself.
Rule #2: It’s important to remember that joint custody isn’t about you.
Divorce is a personal issue for you, but custody is an issue for the children.
Dissolution of a marriage can lead to emotional tunnel vision, which makes people lose sight of the ultimate aim for their children: a happy upbringing. As a parent, custody isn’t about getting what you want at any cost or even squeezing equity out of your child. Time spent with a child is not a trophy to be won but rather a treasure to be treasured by co-parents.
If you want to have joint custody of your child, you need to put your ego aside and realize that what’s best for the child isn’t always what’s best for you.
Rule #3: Be honest about how much time you have available and what obligations you have.
When a couple is going through a divorce or a legal separation, they often make irrational decisions based on fear or insecurity. But that isn’t needed to be the case. Consider custody as a business transaction. Focus on the facts rather than your emotions in this case
Rule #4: Make a custody plan that’s unique to your family.
Choosing a custody agreement requires careful consideration of the following.
1. The ages and characteristics of your children, number one.
2. You and your family’s daily routine
3. The responsibilities of each parent’s work and social life.
4. The extracurricular and academic activities that your children are involved in
5. Your child-care arrangements and the distance between the parents’ houses.
Rule # 5: Not all bad parents result from a dysfunctional relationship.
Your ex may have let you down and made you feel like a failure. It is still feasible for them to be a good parent even if they were a lousy spouse. A child’s most significant interests are served when they see both parents regularly. Even if your marriage didn’t work out, you could still be a good parent.
It doesn’t matter how happy or sad the child is; they must know that both parents adore them. Do you know how? Prioritize the well-being of your children over your own. Keep in mind that your ex is the only person in the world that loves and cares for your children as much as you do.
Rule #6: Find a way to communicate with someone you get along with.
The ability to effectively communicate with the other parent is critical to the success of joint child custody arrangements. You and your ex need to find a way to communicate that works for both of you and your children (and your sanity).
OurFamilyWizard.com is an excellent resource for keeping track of important family documents like immunization records and school schedules, as well as a message board where you can exchange information that can be used as evidence in court if issues arise.
Rule # 7: Choose your battles wisely.
Fair is fair. Co-parenting adds a level of difficulty to the task of raising children. Open communication with your ex is the best way to avoid confrontation, but if arguments do develop, ask yourself if they are worth fighting over.
Remember that if a court has to make a ruling, no one will like it. Try to be as sensible as possible about your opinions. Make a point to fight for only those things that are genuinely worth the effort.
It’s worth it to battle for things like school choice, vacation time, and parental time. Unless there is a proven medical concern such as diabetes or food allergies, it is pointless to argue about dietary preferences. Don’t waste your time and energy on things that don’t matter.
Rule # 8: Allow your youngster to feel heard by following
During a divorce, a child’s life undergoes much change. Divorce and custody arrangements can make it difficult for a youngster to feel in control, but allowing him to voice his feelings and confusions about the situation might help.
Depending on their age, children should be included in the decision-making process. In rare cases, this is a simple matter for preteens, but in others, it might be a challenge to discern. Let your 5-year-old choose which Lego sets he wants to bring to his father’s house as a way of including him in the process of making the trip. Making a custody plan with the input of preteens and teenagers can guarantee that the schedule works with the teen’s extracurricular activities.
In addition, a child who believes his contribution has been acknowledged is more likely to accept the schedule. In making child custody decisions, parents should consider not only what their children have to say but also how they feel, how they perceive the world, and what they desire. Consider the long-term consequences of a decision before making one for your children.
Rule # 9: Keeping an eye on the layout and making adjustments as necessary.
Your custody agreement should evolve along with your children’s growth and development. In light of the fact that children grow and circumstances change, many parents believe it is a good idea to periodically evaluate a child custody agreement to see how it is working for them.
There is a chance that you and your ex will alter as well.
If you want to work toward an equal time-sharing agreement but haven’t spent as much time parenting in the past, it’s best to start slowly and work your way up.