For many couples, shared custody offers a way to ensure that children get their needs met while also maintaining and building close relationships with each parent.
While this arrangement continues to see a steady rise in popularity, it comes with challenges for both parents and children. Although people will stay face bumps in the road, the three tips below play a key role in successful co-parenting.
1. Create a customized, unified parenting plan
Regardless of the relationship former spouses have with one another, staying on the same page and planning ahead eliminates future headaches and potential battles. After the judgment, parents should sit down and develop a detailed plan. Along with defining rules and expectations, key topics of the plan should include visitation, finances, backup child care, medical care, holidays, special events and decision-making.
2. Stay flexible
Even with an established plan, life happens and changes. From unexpected events that lead to a late pickup or a surprise event that happens on the other party’s visitation day, staying flexible eases potential frustrations. As the children grow, their needs will also change. Having established flexibility makes tackling new challenges easier for both parents.
3. Maintain positive communication
Children need their parents to stay positive around one another. Whether the parents get along or not, children need to see a united front. For many, approaching one another with a professional attitude helps ensure exchanges and discussions stay relaxed, respectful and neutral. While many want to avoid frequent communication, establishing it early on often proves beneficial.
Whether the divorce was smooth or full of tension, afterward, the focus needs to revolve around the children and ensuring a happy, healthy life.