Tips for Joint Custody and Co-Parenting
Navigating life after divorce can be complicated — especially if you and your new ex share children together. From improving your communication to focusing on making the most of your time with your children, here are some tips to protect your children from harsh feelings following your divorce.
Communication is Key
Whether your marriage ended amicably or not, you both are still responsible for caring for your children and honoring the custody agreements that were set in place for their best interest.
Here are some ways to improve your communication:
Never use your kids as messengers.
Take your anger or frustration out on your own.
Avoid talking badly about your co-parent to your children.
Talk about your children regularly and try using a business-like tone.
Listen often, show restraint, and make requests rather than demands.
Being able to cooperate with your co-parent will help your children feel secure, learn how to problem solve, and have a healthy example to follow. Remember: this custody agreement will likely last for the rest of your child’s adolescent life (with some slight modifications, possibly). It’s important to set these practices into place earlier so your children still feel safe with both of their parents.
Making Decisions & Routines
You and your co-parent will need to work as a team and be on the same page with how to parent your children — to avoid any ‘mom said, dad said’ situations. This means following your custody and visitation schedules and aim for consistency with all parenting lessons.
Here are some tips to help you make collective decisions with your co-parent:
Have similar rules and consequences in each household — as long as they’re not radically different.
Aim for consistency in your child’s daily schedule to help them adjust to life in a new household scenario.
Keep your ex in the loop about all important topics, such as medical needs, updates from school, and related financial issues.
Co-Parenting Over School Breaks
Your custody order will outline where your children will live and when you will share time together during the school year, but things may change when school is out:
As a divorced parent, you may find yourself required to plan your summer activities out more in order to follow your custody agreement.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the summer season with your children:
Reconfirm your plans beforehand.
Share the costs.
Follow your custody order.
Enjoy alone time.
The Holiday Season
If your divorce order allows you to share custody with your ex-spouse, it will be up to you to determine where the kids will spend their time for the holidays. Remember to plan to allow your co-parent enough time around their work schedule to prepare the days and any special activities they may want to do.
Here are some additional tips that can help your children to have a happy holiday season:
Don’t compete over gifts.
Shift the focus away from gift giving and focus on family time.
Be flexible to accommodate travel and work schedules.
Try to balance new and old traditions when possible.
Plan your visitation schedule in advance.
Reach Out to Our Honolulu Divorce Attorneys
When it comes to sharing custody with your ex, remember that the end goal is ensuring your children are happy, healthy, and well taken care of. Using these tips can help you avoid worrying over small things and holding grudges. Respect can go a long way and help your children learn by example, but we know this isn’t possible in every situation.