It’s safe to say that, when you got married, you never had the intention of one day divorcing your spouse. Yet, every year, thousands of couples across the state of Texas call it quits and decide to end their marriage. Unfortunately, divorce can be messy and is never as easy as just going your separate ways, especially for parents.
If you are a parent, your children are likely the most important people in your life, so you only want the best for them. This is why more and more divorcing parents today are choosing to pursue a joint physical custody arrangement. Also known as shared parenting, this type of child custody agreement is usually the preferred arrangement since it allows both parents to remain in the children’s lives. Here’s what it takes to make a shared parenting arrangement successful for all parties involved.
Leave the past in the past
In order to make shared parenting work, you can’t let your own emotions override the needs of your children. Understandably, learning to cooperate and co-parent with your ex after a divorce is anything but easy. However, you have to keep in mind that the relationship now is about the children and their well-being. The marriage is over, so leave it where it belongs: in the past.
Effective communication is vital
Effective communication is at the core of any successful joint custody or shared parenting arrangement. Again, communicating with your ex-spouse may not be easy, but recognize that it is necessary and will be for many years to come. Train yourself not to overreact to the things your ex may say or do. It is often helpful to think of your ex as a business colleague, and your business is facilitating the well-being of your children.
Exposure to different perspectives is usually healthy for your kids, but they should also recognize that they have the same basic sets of rules and expectations in each household. You and your co-parent should aim to keep rules and discipline consistent in both homes. Your rules and schedules don’t have to be exactly the same, but if both of you have similar guidelines, it will be easier for your kids to adjust between homes.
Transitioning between homes is a necessary part of a shared parenting arrangement. Help your children anticipate the transition by reminding them a day or two ahead of time. Also, it is usually better to drop off your children instead of taking them from the other parent. If you take your children from the other parent, you could interrupt a special moment.
Help is available
Obviously, co-parenting after a marital breakup is rarely easy. However, if both parents are willing to put their differences aside and work together for the children, a shared parenting arrangement can be successful. As your children grow and change over time, you may also need to amend your custody arrangement to meet their needs. Luckily, there is professional help readily available for parents who have questions or need help with child custody matters.