Keeping both parents in a child’s life is almost always the most desired option. Unless there’s an immediate threat of physical harm, most courts will do their best to create a custody arrangement that allows a child to see both parents.
However, after separating, cooperation can feel like an impossible task. It doesn’t have to. Here are some easy ways you can help a joint custody arrangement go smoothly for everyone involved. Yes, even your ex.
Put your child or children first
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be difficult to separate feelings from what’s best for your child. No matter how things ended with your ex, you need to think of them as a parent first.
What seems fair and what’s best for your child may not always align. Being reasonable means setting a good example for your child. It shows him or her that compromise is possible.
Be reasonable about your time commitments
Many parents aim for a custody agreement that gives them the most time with their children. Try to stay realistic about your obligations.
Don’t take on more than you can handle simply so your ex gets less time with his or her children. It’s important to be honest about your own schedule when agreeing to a custody arrangement.
Find a communication style that works for both of you
Some exes can become great friends over time. Others need to speak the bare minimum to maintain sanity. It all depends on your situation and your relationship with your ex. If he or she surprises your child with a holiday trip without talking to you first, it’s tempting to simply nix the whole thing. It may feel good in the moment, but that is unproductive.
Work on finding a style that fits for both of you. Communication is key to ensure your child receives consistent discipline and parenting styles. It can also cut down on last-minute plan changes.
Remember it’s a work in progress
Just like parenting in general, adapting a custody plan that works for you is going to be a matter of trial and error.
Don’t be discouraged when things aren’t going perfectly. A plan that works for a few years may suddenly not be feasible anymore after a job change or a life event. Don’t be afraid to change things when they aren’t working.
A good custody plan will adapt to fit both of your lives. A skilled family law attorney is a great resource if you need to review your current custody situation.