Co-Parenting 101: How To Make Joint Custody Work

child sitting in front of fighting parents

When both parents act in the best interests of the children, joint custody arrangements can be constructed in such ways that minimize the impact of divorce on the children. Establishing and implementing a fair custody arrangement can be challenging at the beginning which is why most parents rely upon an attorney to ensure that parenting schedules are compliant with court orders or custody agreements.

3 Tips For Creating A Joint Custody Schedule

Joint custody occurs when both parents share primary physical custody of their children and the children are considered to reside in both parents' homes. Children may or may not spend equal time with each parent depending on the children's needs and ages, the distance between the parents' homes, the children's preferences, and the parents' outside obligations.

Here are three things to consider when creating a joint custody schedule:

Change Your Perspective of Your Ex

The process of crafting a joint custody schedule is a great time to start changing the way you look at and relate to your ex-partner or spouse. Instead of seeing them as your ex, look at them as your child's parent and your parenting teammate. Together, you can focus on the goal of helping your children thrive post-divorce or separation.

Put the Children, Their Needs, and Their Input First.

The primary concern when planning a joint custody schedule should be what is best for the children with the ultimate goal of keeping the children connected to both parents. In many cases and especially with older children, the children should be included in discussions about aspects of the custody schedules that impact important routines or activities.

Be Flexible When Crafting the Custody Schedule

There are no perfect schedules and compromises will have to be made. Do your best to accommodate everyone's needs starting with your children's first then yours and your co-parents.

Essential Rules for Co-Parenting

Communicate directly and effectively with your co-parent: Joint parenting decisions and scheduling changes should be decided between the co-parents first before being shared with the children. Don't send messages to your co-parent through your children about anything no matter how innocent the message may seem at the time.

Respect your co-parent: Set aside old marital differences and don't bash your co-parent to your children or around your children. Don't expect perfection from your co-parent or yourself. Give your co-parent the benefit of a doubt that co-parenting is difficult for them too and that they, like you, are doing the best they can.

Adopt the "drop off only" policy: No parent wants to be seen as the one who is coming to take the children away from the other parent because of the way the children can subconsciously perceive that. The "drop off only" policy eliminates that negative connotation from parental exchanges and makes children feel more comfortable.

Establish common household rules: Consistent rules that are enforced in both households create a sense of co-parenting unity that is comforting to children and limits conflict between parents. Having a few common rules that both parents agree to is a great way to build a solid co-parenting foundation.

Stay flexible: It's important to remember that children's needs will change as they grow and adjustments will need to be made to accommodate them. Be willing to adjust schedules as children's activities or parents' outside obligations change. Children may also ask to spend time with a parent outside the agreed schedule because they are missing them. It is best to accommodate these requests if at all possible.

Protect Your Family With Skilled Legal Representation

At the Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo, we assist clients with the unique challenges associated with matters of family law. If you are experiencing a family law issue that requires legal intervention, we are here to help.

You can reach the Law Office of Rebecca J. Carrillo today at (210) 405-6623.


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