Want to Make Joint Child Custody Work? Stick to These 7 Golden Rules
There isn’t a topic more sensitive to divorcing parents than child custody. Loving parents don’t want to miss a minute more of their little one’s life than they have to. When both guardians are determined to be involved, joint custody is often the answer.
Unfortunately, the children often become the innocent bystanders of their parents’ negative emotions in divorce. To make joint child custody work, you and your ex should stick to these 7 golden rules.
1. Never Talk Bad About Your Ex when you have joint child custody
No matter how you feel about your ex, they are still your child’s parents, so you should never talk bad about them to your offspring. Even if something horrible caused the divorce, children still battle the desire to love and be loved by their father and mother. They will come to terms with the separation and their relationship with each of you in time. What you don’t want them to remember is how you degraded and bad-mouthed the parent they love.
2. Don’t Bring Up Your Child’s “Traits” In a Bad Way
You might be saying it as a joke, but the “You look just like your dad” or “Yeah, you get that attitude from your mom” isn’t funny to your child. This is especially true if they hear you tell a friend later down the road how your ex was ugly, or their attitude caused all your problems. Kids hear more than you think, and they put it together in their own way.
3. Remember, It’s About the Child
Joint child custody isn’t about you or your ex “winning.” It’s about the best for your children. If that means giving up your time for a week so they can do a family vacation, do it. Depending on where you are, your lawyers can include a customized visitation schedule. If you live in Melbourne or the surrounding cities, for instance, you’ll need to talk to family lawyers in Melbourne to know the laws and your rights. Make it about the child as much as you can.
4. Recognize Your Own Faults
Divorce is rarely one-sided, and we all have faults. As soon as you recognize this, it’s easier for you to accept that your ex is going to make mistakes in the future and has made them in the past. But so have you, and so will you. If you want yours forgiven, forgive theirs.
5. Recognize Your Ex’s Good Qualities
Remember, if your ex was a bad spouse, it doesn’t mean they’ll be a bad parent. If you have serious concerns about the safety and well-being of your child when they’re alone with their parent, you should not agree to joint custody. Get a legal third party involved if your ex is violent, abusive, or addicted to illegal substances. Otherwise, recognize that they are human and won’t be perfect, but they’re trying.
6. Communicate About Your Child
Communication can be hard while emotions are high, but if something happens to your child when you’re not there, you’d like to know. So, you have to open the lines of communication to make sure your ex knows you want to be informed of anything important, and you’ll do the same for them.
7. Stay Involved
If you’re not on the teacher’s email list, going to games, and showing up at parent conferences because your ex has it under control, don’t expect to be the primary parent the teachers call. Get involved in everything that matters to your child, and stay involved.
With these simple rules, you can make joint child custody a successful journey for everyone included.