Divorcing couples with children must seek the most workable arrangement when it comes to custody matters. To do so, they must start off by prioritizing their children’s interests. Set aside any animosity you have toward each other. No more bickering with the other. No more undercutting the other. The kids remain the focus.
It is time to look ahead at new issues centering on the children rather than looking back at matters that led to your divorce. In working together, the two of you can make a joint custody agreement a realistic and workable one. The children will thank you for that cooperation. After all, they are better off when both parents continue to play instrumental roles in their lives.
Compromise, listen and adapt
Among important facets of a successful joint custody arrangement include:
- Do not say bad things about the other parent in front of the children. Your kids have long memories, and they will remember how your words made them feel. Your children love both parents. Do not make them choose one over the other.
- Meet in the middle and focus on compromise. Your children are not possessions, so do not treat them that way, especially when dealing with the other parent. If scheduling conflicts surface, consider the child’s preference rather than your own. Understand that the best joint custody arrangement centers on your children’s needs and activities.
- Civil communication between parents is essential. If you cannot have a face-to-face conversation that does not turn into an argument, turn to telephone calls, emails and texts. You still must work together and, ideally, share what is going on in the lives of your children.
- Give the children a say and listen to them. Children who are old enough can help determine visitation schedules. Their input just may make matters smoother for both parents.
- When things in your lives change, consider adjusting the child custody arrangement. Regularly revisit the arrangement to determine what can be improved. But make sure you continue to focus on the children.
You always will have differences with your former spouse. However, now is the time to set aside those differences because you want the best for your children. You want them to be physically and psychologically healthy. And you want them to know that both parents love them and will continue to do so.