Law

3 Tips to Make Joint Custody Work After a Divorce

There are many causes of stress for family, but divorce doesn't have to be one of them. Sure, your children may be upset, confused, and angry, but that will all fade with time, especially if you and your spouse agree to joint custody.

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Years ago, when parents would get divorced, most mothers would assume full custody of the children while the fathers paid the mothers child support and only saw their children every other weekend. While this scenario may still be the case for some divorced families, other parents are deciding to have joint custody of the children in order to ensure that the children have equal time with both parents and that both parents have equal parenting rights.

While joint custody may seem like the answer to every divorced parent's problems, it does require some work on the parents' part. The following are three tips to help you and your ex make joint custody of your children work after your divorce.

1 Hire a family lawyer.

Some parents opt to create their own joint custody agreement, and while this may work at first, it can cause problems in the end. For this reason, it's always best to hire a family lawyer to draft the joint custody agreement and file it with the court. A family lawyer can bring up issues you and your ex may not have thought about, and it will also make your agreement binding with the court, which means that neither of you can make changes without the other's consent. A family lawyer can also help you and your spouse resolve parental differences. According to Malonis Law Office, "When parents are always on the same page, it can be a much easier journey. Parents who are struggling with decision making and conflict may need guidance from an outside source who can take a different perspective and approach {and} be your advocate and resource to help ensure the best possible outcome for all of your parenting decisions and conflicts."

2 Keep your opinions to yourself.

When you and your ex have joint custody, you both get to spend equal time with the children, and you both get to have a prominent influence on your child as they grow. In order to make this situation work, you need to make sure you keep your opinions to yourself. It doesn't matter how you personally feel about your ex, you cannot tell your child how you feel or talk bad about the other parent in front of your child. This will only make your child upset, and it could come back to haunt you if your ex were to find out about what you said.

3 Communicate effectively.

Having strong communication between you and your ex is essential to making the joint custody work. You and your ex need to find an effective way to communicate, whether it's via phone calls, emails, or even text messages. You should also set up a shared calendar so that you both have access to your child's schedules, especially as they get older and involved in more extracurricular activities. You also need to ensure that you each share valuable information with one another, whether it has to do with a special school assignment your child has, a special occasion (such as a 16th birthday), or even development issues (such as learning disorders or even teenage angst). When both parents are in the know, it makes the transition easier on the child and keeps them from being able to "play" both parents in order to get what they want.

Do you have any questions? Please ask.