How To Make Joint Custody Work
If you are recently divorced and have joint custody of your children with your former spouse, then things could get a bit tricky. However, there is no reason that you cannot have a good, equitable co-parenting relationship with your former spouse for the benefit of your children. By taking decisions together, presenting a united front, and managing schedules well, you and your ex-partner can actually make joint custody work amazingly well. Here are a few things that can help when you share custody of your child.
- Remember that your child comes first, always
After a recent divorce, it can be hard to put animosity aside, but it is necessary that you do so if you have joint custody of your child with your former spouse. Remember, a bad spouse does not make a bad parent, and making your child the central feature of all your discussions with your former spouse can help you keep animosity at bay and really concentrate on what matters. Make sure you communicate openly with both your child and your former spouse, and never undermine your former spouse’s parenting skills in front of your child. That said, you should actively expect the same consideration from your former spouse.
- Make the schedule work
When setting up a schedule, there are important things both you and your former spouse need to disclose. You need to take all of your commitments into consideration before coming up with a schedule. Discuss and share holidays, school breaks, weekends, birthdays, and more beforehand to avoid unpleasantness down the road. If your child is old enough, involve them in the process. Always make sure that both of you schedule around your child’s schedule. The less disruption there is to your child’s established schedule, the better.
- Leave room for change, and review the agreement periodically
This can be difficult to do when coming up with a custody agreement, but it is very important. Leaving room for flexibility can greatly benefit you and your child in the long run. Discuss what happens if either parent has to leave town due to an emergency or difficult career changes cause issues. Be open to changing the agreement when required to ensure that your child gets adequate attention from both parents.
Reviewing the agreement periodically not only lets you form a stronger co-parenting bond with your former spouse but also lets you look realistically at obligations and commitments that both of you have. Age-related adjustments are frequently required, as a custody agreement that benefits your child at age 4 might not necessarily do so at age 10. Make these adjustments as and when needed with your lawyers or mediators.
Remember, having joint custody is an arrangement that can work out well for your child. It can make them feel loved, and secure in their relationships with both parents. Therefore, it behooves both you and your former spouse to make the agreement as beneficial as possible for your child. With a little bit of work, joint custody can be good for everyone involved.
To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation.