Joint custody can be hard work. You have to coordinate conflicting schedules and make sacrifices. Making custody and visitation work with someone you could not stand to be married to is not a piece of cake. However, despite the difficulties, there are some practical steps you can take to help things go more smoothly and provide a healthy environment for your children.
If you and the other parent are committed to being respectful, cooperative and managing your emotions, you can make joint custody work. Here are some of the best tips for successfully co-parenting.
1. Prioritize your kids
Remember that custody is about the children. It is easy to get caught up in your own emotions and needs during and after your divorce. But it is crucial to keep your focus on giving your kids a great childhood. The goal is not to get everything you want. You should look at visitation as a gift to cherish instead of a prize to win.
2. Respect your ex
Unless your former spouse is abusive, battling addiction or is dangerous in some other way, chances are he or she is not a bad parent. You might think he or she was a bad spouse, but that does not negate the important relationship your former partner has with your children. Your children need to feel loved by both parents. Try to remember that your ex cares about your kids as much as you do.
3. Review and adjust as needed
Your lives will all change over time. Sometimes this means your custody arrangement needs modification Maybe your ex has moved in with another partner or you moved an hour away from your children. Perhaps high school schedules are much different than middle school schedules. Whatever the case is, do not be afraid to review your agreement and seek to change it. Co-parenting will require consistent cooperation between you and your ex as both of you and your children all grow.