They say divorce is like death but without support or rituals with loved ones. Even if your divorce is friendly, the burden of splitting family schedules between two households can feel like a chore.
Shared child custody can work smoothly as long as the details make sense based on the needs of the kids. Here are a few tips on making joint custody work for you and your family.
Mind Your Words
It’s tempting to vent to anyone who’ll offer a listening ear during a difficult divorce. The pain and grief that sets in can last months, sometimes years after the final paperwork gets signed.
Let your friends, and not your children, hear about your grief. Parents unfairly place too big an emotional burden on children when they use them as therapists to vent.
Watch what you say to and around your children during and after the divorce. Your spouse may not be married to you anymore but he or she has a lifelong relationship with your child.
Joint custody isn’t about you. Joint custody isn’t about your ex.
Once the divorce is settled, the decisions you make with your ex should be all about the kids. You will sometimes be inconvenienced or not feel like giving in when your spouse needs last-minute help with the kids, but if it’s for the overall benefit of the family it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Create a custody schedule and put it in writing. It’s neither your responsibility or your ex’s to remind the other parent of when pick up time is each week.
Avoid making your ex-spouse your secretary by putting reminders on your phone or tablet to keep track of your responsibilities as a parent. Hire a family lawyer to help you create a parenting plan to add to your divorce decree.
Be a Parallel Parent
It may take time to get used to not having an opinion about how you think your ex-spouse should handle screens on a weeknight, but you have to remember that you no longer have control over your spouse’s parenting rules.
Give your ex space to establish how he or she wants to interact with the children during their parenting time. Don’t pry into your ex’s personal life by asking the kids questions.
If information is offered, try to avoid commenting or having an opinion. You don’t want to color how your children view the other parent.
Make Child Custody Work for You
Child custody isn’t on anyone’s radar when they say ‘I do.’ But divorce is a reality that affects millions of families each year.
Your family doesn’t have to grieve forever. Create a shared plan that maintains peace between you and your former spouse so your children feel at ease.
The transition between two loving households will give your children the confidence to transition through major life changes when they become adults. For more information and lifestyle tips, check our blog for updates.