5 Ways to Make Shared Custody Arrangements Easier on Children
Battles over child custody are difficult for all parties involved, but they can be especially punishing for the children. In cases of shared custody arrangements, following these basic guidelines to keep your children out of the fight between you and your spouse will help you protect their happiness and well-being as much as possible.
5 Ways to Help Children Cope with Shared Custody Arrangements
- Maintain Stability as Much as Possible
Children thrive on routine and predictability. As much as possible, maintain a regular custodial schedule, and even a consistent homework schedule and bedtime. Try to use similar rules as your ex for administering discipline to your child, so that the children aren’t subject to dramatically different expectations between different houses.
- Calmly Communicate with your Ex
Continuing the fights you had with your spouse as a married couple will only keep you as miserable as you were before your divorce. Try to set a more professional tone when communicating about parenting decisions, in order to remain calm and neutral. Remember to listen to your ex. That person is also your child’s parent and deserves to provide input on big decisions in your child’s life. Never put your child in the middle of any disagreements by using your child as a messenger between yourself and your ex. If it’s helpful in keeping you calm and restrained, communicate with your ex by text or email.
- Don’t Disparage Your Ex in Front of Your Child
While it may be challenging not to speak ill of someone who has caused you a great deal of anguish, remember to speak respectfully of your ex-spouse in front of your child. Don’t put your child in a position of having to choose a favorite parent, and don’t let your child feel as though he or she would be betraying you by remaining close to the other parent. Find friends to whom you can vent your frustrations with your former spouse, so that you don’t feel an urge to do so with your child.
- Make Visits Seem Fun and Positive
Your child may not always want to spend time with the other parent, or may just be tired of switching between houses. Try and build positive anticipation regarding your child’s visits with your ex. Talk about the fun things they’ll do together, include a special note or treat in your child’s bag for them to find when they arrive, and when dropping off your child, greet your former spouse with something positive.
- Keep the Ultimate Goal in Mind: Your Child’s Well-Being
While it may be tempting to continue fighting with your former spouse, remember that the goal is not to be the winner of a custody dispute; the goal is to create an arrangement that provides the healthiest and most successful parenting arrangement for your child. When frustration with an ex arises, try to focus anew on how best to parent your child and on what you and your former spouse can do to best serve their interests.
Fighting with your former spouse over custody can be hard on all parties involved. Retaining a legal professional with experience in finding solutions regarding shared custody arrangements in the best interests of children involved will help. Contact the experienced and compassionate Howard County family law attorneys at Coover Law Firm, LLC to schedule a free consultation in our Columbia, Maryland office: 410-995-1100.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.