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How to navigate a healthy joint custody arrangement

On Behalf of | May 12, 2020 | Child Custody |

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs most people will ever take on. That job can get a lot more complicated after divorce, especially when you are trying to effectively co-parent with an ex-spouse. Luckily, there are things that both you and your child’s other parent can do to make sharing joint custody easier.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is something that might seem obvious — it is not about you. Divorce is an emotional process, and it is easy to get swept up in the idea of “winning.” Joint custody works best when both parents keep their kids as the focal point, not themselves.

No badmouthing

You probably did not get divorced because you were perfectly happy with your ex-spouse and all of his or her little quirks and habits. Your divorce may have even exacerbated any feelings of animosity. Feeling poorly toward your ex is perfectly normal, of course, but that does not mean your child needs to know about it.

Badmouthing your ex in front of your child puts him or her in an uncomfortable dilemma. First, your kid probably still loves his or her other parent very much, and it can be hurtful to hear harsh comments. Second, your child is not just your own. He or she came from both of you, and children often interpret negative comments about parents as attacks against themselves.

Work on your communication

Sharing joint custody is just that — a joint effort. This means that both of you need to be on the same page about several things, including how you communicate with one another. Some parents prefer talking in person or on the phone, but there are plenty of other options for those who do not. These include things like:

  • Shared online calendars
  • Texts
  • Emails

Using these and other types of technology can be great for a number of different reasons. It is easy to quickly share information online or in a text, making it more convenient to stay in contact. Technology also adds another benefit — a record of communication. If for any reason you and your ex end up in court over a custody disagreement, your communication records could be quite helpful.

You cannot “win”

Conflict is going to arise at some point on your co-parenting journey, just as it would if you were still married. But that does not mean that either of you should be — or even can be — a winner. Minimizing conflict is key, so instead of fighting over small things like sleepovers and food choices, save your battles for the important things. Your ex might be a lot more willing to compromise on things like school choice if you have worked to compromise on those small things.

Joint child custody is beneficial for a lot of kids in Alabama, which means it is up to the parents to make things work. This is not easy when you and your ex are on different sides of the same problem — finding a custody solution in your child’s best interests. Since it is your child’s well-being on the line, you should be sure to seek out guidance from an experienced family law attorney