Breaking up with a partner is a devastating event, but it becomes a thousand times more complicated when kids are involved.
Do you want to make joint custody a collaborative effort between you and your co-parent and easier on your kids? Here are seven actionable approaches to ensuring your joint custody works.
1. Draw up a parenting plan
It is important for parents to agree on the best way to go about co-parenting. A parenting plan helps improve understanding and like-mindedness about both partners’ rules and routines for co-parenting. This should include vital questions like how you will go about the kids’ birthdays, sharing vacations and holidays, etc.
2. Your child is the priority
Always remember that co-parenting is not about you but rather about the child. Both parents must put aside their grievances to deliberate on what is best for the child. So, when drafting a co-parenting plan, the child must come first. Whatever arrangement both parents agree to, it should be suited for the child’s age, social, emotional, health, academic, and extracurricular needs.
3. Effective communication
In any partnership, communication is key. There should be an agreed-upon method of contact that is efficiently reachable by both partners, whether by phone calls or emails. A physical meeting should be arranged when there is a serious issue to be addressed that cannot be done over the phone.
Effective communication also involves letting your co-parent know how you feel about certain behaviors respectfully. If there is a schedule change, inform your co-parent in advance.
4. Consult with a professional
Creating a parenting plan could be a long and tiring process for both parents. This is why it is advised to consult an attorney and a therapist. Depending on where you’re from, it is helpful to hire an attorney. For instance, if the parties reside in Utah, hiring a great family law attorney Utah will hasten the process and facilitate effective communication.
5. Be agreeable
Your rules in respect of your kids may not necessarily be your co-parents’ rules. Examples of these include extending the time for bed by an hour, playing video games and watching TV, and taking the kids out to McDonald’s for dinner, among others.
As long as your co-parent’s actions are not putting the kids in danger, contesting how your co-parent chooses to spend time with the kids may only lead to arguments. Learn to be agreeable and avoid conflicts.
6. Avoid bad mouthing your co-parent in front of your kids
You may still be upset about the divorce, but parents should not badmouth their ex around the kids. This is because your kids still love and view them as a parent. Venting to your kids about your ex may cause them to feel conflicted about having to choose one parent more than the other.
7. Review parenting plan from time to time
To ensure that the joint custody arrangement is in line with the growth of your kids, the co-parenting arrangement must be reviewed from time to time. Adjustments should be made to the plan as required.
Implementing these strategies can help make joint custody work. In whatever decisions you make, make sure your kids always feel heard. Be gentle with them, as the process is difficult, and the change in custody is new and may be emotionally strenuous.