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Making joint custody work

Studies have repeatedly shown that children who grow up enjoying the support and guidance of both parents are generally healthier and happier. Therefore, it should be your goal to enter into a joint custody arrangement with a positive attitude and a mutual goal of creating a nurturing co-parenting program.

Here are a few quick tips to help you get started.

  • Focus on the child, not the divorce: No doubt you have told your children the divorce or separation has nothing to do with them. So, when discussing the child's needs with your ex, stay focused on your kids' welfare and avoid the pitfall of making the discussion about the negative aspects of your failed relationship.
  • Maintain open communication: Keep the other parent informed through texts, emails, and phone calls about schedules, sniffles, and sleepovers. There is little opportunity for resentment to form when you remain open and honest.
  • Make plans for education and medical appointments early: Work on making the big decisions ahead of time such as where to go for medical attention or which school you wish to have the child attend. Springing big changes on each other will simply generate more drama that filters down to your child.
  • Maintain flexibility: Even though you may have scheduled vacation time with the family, there will be times as your children grow where they might wish to attend camp or spend time with their friends. Remember, this is about their future, not your feelings. Be supportive and understanding as much as you are able.

Of course, if your spouse or ex consistently prevents you from participating in your child's welfare, per the court-ordered custody agreement, don't hesitate to contact your family law attorney.

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