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5 Tips for Helping Your Kids Navigate Joint Custody (Even if Things Ended Badly With Your Spouse)

Joint custody allows parents to share responsibility and authority in raising their children after a divorce or separation. While this can seem like an excellent arrangement on paper, it can be challenging to figure out the right plan that will work for your child’s best interests.

Without a good joint custody plan, kids might be caught up in the middle of arguments and conflicts, which can affect their emotional well-being. Sometimes, children may find it hard to split time between two homes and two sets of parental figures.

But worry not, as here are handy tips you can use to help your child navigate joint custody if you have recently gone through a divorce.

Establish a Realistic and Consistent Schedule

Joint custody means that your children will have two homes and spend time with both parents. Therefore, try to make your schedule as consistent as possible so that your kids know what to expect.

Avoid making unrealistic custody decisions based on your emotions, fears, or insecurities. Instead, treat custody as a business arrangement, not your former spouse’s personal judgment.

If there is any issue that might affect your schedule, it would be best to inform your kids and the other parent about them early enough. You should also be open to adjusting plans as needed, based on feedback from your kids and co-parent.

Communicate Effectively

You and your co-parent need to be on the same page when making decisions about your child’s care. Plus, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively with your children about what to expect.

Therefore, find a communication platform that works best for you, your child, and your former lover. If one of you chooses to use WhatsApp while the other relies on sending emails, you’ll only create confusion.

Additionally, be polite and professional when talking to your co-parent in front of your kids. Remember, children love both of you, and you don’t want them to feel like they have to choose sides.

Allow Your Children to Be Heard

Children often undergo many changes during a divorce or separation, and they may have issues to discuss, just like you and your ex. Giving kids a chance to express their feelings after a divorce or separation gives them a sense of control amid hard times.

Kids, especially preteens, may have a say when you’re deciding the type of custody that works for them. While the final decision still lies with you, try to be open-minded about what they tell you.

If kids feel like their opinion is being heard, they are more likely to cooperate and agree to a specific schedule.

Consider What Type of Custody Would Work Best for Your Children

There are different types of child custody, including joint custody, sole custody, legal custody, and physical custody. Each of these plans has advantages and limitations that you might want to consider.

An effective child custody agreement should ensure that your children receive appropriate parenting for their social and emotional development. Moreover, it shouldn’t affect the routines of you, your kids, and the other parent.

Factors you may want to consider when creating a custody plan for your children may include:

  • The age and maturity of your kids
  • Distance between you and the other parent
  • Your work schedules
  • Academic and extracurricular commitments of your children
  • Your children’s daycare routines

If you have children of different ages and developmental stages, you may want to look into each child’s needs when choosing a co-parenting plan.

Review Your Arrangements and Make Necessary Adjustments

Kids grow, and situations change over time. So, it’s important to review your custody arrangements regularly and make adjustments that suit your child’s current needs.

Whenever there are changes, be willing to be flexible as it will make child custody arrangements much easier for everyone involved. For example, you may need to adjust your schedule to accommodate extracurricular activities or unexpected changes in your co-parent’s job schedule.

Jeff Campbell