You might think that joint custody is the best option for you, your ex and your children after your separation. But even though it’s the right decision, it’s not necessarily going to be easy. Your kids might find splitting their time confusing and upsetting. If you and your ex ended on bad terms, it could also be difficult to communicate and negotiate your schedules. There’s no question it can take some time for you all to get used to this new arrangement. But thankfully, there are things you can do to make the transition a lot smoother and less stressful. Read through these expert tips to help make joint custody work successfully for your family.
Listen to your children
It can be easy to focus too much on how difficult this separation or divorce is on you. But in reality, your children will be affected the most. Depending on how old they are, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. If they are invited to open up and be involved, children can find it easier to adjust to significant changes. Listen carefully to what they have to say and any concerns they might have about the situation. Then, answer any questions they have and provide plenty of reassurance. Try to arrange a time when you can have this talk when your ex-partner is present. That way your child will be heard by both of you.
Find a way of communicating
Without any communication, the joint custody plans you decided upon are likely to breakdown. It can also make it difficult to create an agreement that suits both of you. So as much as you might dislike your ex, try to find a way of communicating with each other regularly. Advances in technology have given us countless ways of making contact from calls to emails. So if you can’t stand talking on the phone, try another form of communication instead. There is also the option of communicating face to face in a location such as a lawyer’s office or a mutual friend’s home. Talk to East Coast Family Lawyers or go online for further support and guidance on effective communication.
To make sure your shared custody agreement works as it should, you need to be realistic with your schedule. Think carefully about your personal and professional commitments and how they will fit your new agreement. You also need to take your children’s schedule into consideration too. As well as having school, they might also have extracurricular activities during the evenings and weekend. There’s also school holidays to take into account. Being unrealistic could cause you and your children to be deeply unhappy, as well as causing further friction with your ex. So be fair and divide your children’s time between you and your ex as equally as you can.
As time goes on, ensure that you review and update your joint custody agreement. The one you set up when your children were young, may not be suitable when they become teenagers. This ensures that your kids remain your top priority and keeps the agreement relevant and appropriate.