Making it Work: 8 Tips for a Successful Joint Custody After Divorce


If you’ve recently divorced, it’s important to keep the best interests of your child in mind. Learn some helpful tips for a healthy joint custody situation.

Did you recently deal with a divorce? Did you agree on joint custody regarding the kids?

That’s only half the battle. The other half is about making joint custody work. Dealing with child custody schedules and rules between each parent is no easy task.

Fortunately, we’ve got several useful tips for you to follow. Don’t hesitate to try these steps below to make your joint custody agreement less stressful.

  1. It’s Never About You

One of the issues of going through a divorce is that it makes people undergo emotional tunnel vision. It’s no surprise that you’re hurt, but your ex-spouse feels that way too. Your child feels pain too.

To maintain healthy joint custody, don’t put yourself in the forefront. Instead of always thinking of your needs and how it compares to your ex’s, think about your kid’s needs. What do they need most and what do they want right now?

  1. Make a Schedule

Since there are seven days a week, you’ll never be able to evenly split the time you have with your kid but it’s important for the children to be with both parents. There are three viable custody schedules, however.

The first method is the 2-2-3 schedule. This means you get custody on Mon-Tue, your ex gets custody on Wed-Thur, and then you get custody again from Fri-Sun. On the next week, the schedule flips, which means your ex gets custody on Mon-Tue and Fri-Sun while you get Wed-Thur.

Another method is the 2-2-5 schedule. This one is similar, except the only portions that flip is the schedule for Fri-Sun.

For example, Dad gets Monday and Tuesday, Mom gets Wednesday and Thursday, and then Dad gets Friday to Sunday. On the next week, everything is the same but now Mom gets Friday to Sunday.

The last method is to alternate weeks. Mom gets the kids for one week and then Dad gets the kids for the next week. This is the easiest to adjust; you can change it to two weeks per parent, one month, or others.

  1. Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Ex

Yes, you likely don’t have good feelings right now towards your ex-spouse but don’t voice these out to your kids. As much as possible, don’t bad-mouth your ex. Don’t paint a bad picture because remember: your children will spend time with your ex too.

Telling them all these bad things can affect their relationship with your ex and with you too. These stories might make them question both of you. It can also make them uncomfortable.

  1. Maintain Open Communication

Speaking of talking to your ex, make sure you maintain clear and open communication with them. Don’t keep secrets!

If you want to bring the kids out of state for a camping trip the next time you have custody, make sure your ex knows about it. Don’t try to hide it because they will eventually find out. This could cause even more strife between you two.

Do you have to bring the kids somewhere not in the agreement? Do you need an extra day with the kids? Do you need more time before you can send financial support?

Regardless of the situation, always let your ex-spouse know. Keep them in the loop and this can make this go by a lot smoother.

  1. Take a Co-Parenting Class

Another method to make things easier is to take a co-parenting class. You’ll have to spend time with your ex-spouse, but at the end of the day, it’s not about fixing your relationship. It’s about learning how you two can parent your children while separated.

Co-parenting classes prioritize the needs of your kids. Theses classes highlight the emotional stress children go through during a divorce and how you, as separated parents, can help them deal with it.

  1. Have a Lawyer

No matter how well you and your ex handle things, there will always be a few hiccups. There will always be disagreements. You did separate, after all, so disagreements with joint custody are going to be a normal part of your new life.

However, you shouldn’t handle these complications by yourself.

As much as possible, have an expert you can rely on, such as this divorce lawyer. Always consult with an expert to make sure both parties play by the rules. Even if no one wants to break the rules, someone might do so unknowingly because they want more time with the children or they feel like they deserve something more.

  1. Keep Records

Always keep a record of the things you paid for, such as the child’s tuition fees in school or their medical bills. If you had to make changes to the agreement and you communicated clearly with your ex about this, make sure you have a record of that call, email, or text.

For those receiving alimony, keep a record of your contributions and keep a record of the money your ex-spouse sent. Having records can set things straight if things get nasty and it’s time to go to court. Your lawyers will want to see every detail if possible.

  1. Involve Your Child

At the end of the day, you should always involve your child. As mentioned, joint custody isn’t about you or your ex-spouse. It’s not about who gets more time or what’s fair.

It’s about your child and what works best for them.

Don’t hesitate to involve your children, even if they’re a bit young. Always ask them questions and get them to make important decisions. Their choices can radically alter how and where you live to maintain custody.

Form a Healthy Joint Custody Starting Now

Managing joint custody is going to remain difficult and tumultuous. But with these 8 tips, you can make it a little less rocky. Prioritize your children, work out a schedule, and always have an expert to guide you along the way.

But why stop here?

We invite you to continue reading our guides for more tips and tricks. Discover all the help you need from our articles.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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