Sharing joint custody after divorce is becoming increasingly common, but that does not mean it is easy. You and your ex may have to put in a lot of time and effort into communicating with one another before you fall into a practiced routine. While there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to 50/50 custody, you can try a few things to make the process easier.
Some of the suggestions might feel hard at first. Keeping negative feelings about your ex to yourself can be hard, especially after an emotional divorce. Still, if you and your ex remember that joint custody is about your child and not yourselves, then some of these tips might be easier than you think.
Keep your thoughts to yourself
Custody agreements should always reflect your child’s best interests. If you determined that sharing joint custody was the most appropriate way to respect those interests, then you know that your child benefits from having equal access to both parents. If you or your ex speaks negatively about the other either to or in front of your child, he or she may internalize those words as being partly about him or her. This can make seeing either parent extremely difficult for your child.
This is why it is so important to always remember that the custody agreement is not about the parents. To make joint custody work, you have to set aside the lingering anger and emotions left over from the divorce. You should still create time and space to process those emotions, but they should not come into play during any custody matters.
Communication is key
Chances are that you did not divorce your ex so that you could still talk to him or her on a regular basis. However, if you share a child then you need to get comfortable with regular communication. It is a good idea to set boundaries, though. You should agree to acceptable forms of communication, which can include:
- Digital calendars
- Phone calls
Since you will both be spending roughly the same amount of time with your child, you will both need access to important information. Using an online common document storage system can be extremely helpful for storing things like school calendars, immunization records and calendars, and even expense logs for shared expenses.
Letting things go is okay
Even married couples argue over parenting, and divorced parents face even more obstacles. After going through a divorce, you might feel as if you are still in battle mode, meaning that you are ready to fight over every small dispute or disagreement. Instead, pick your battles and let go of things that are not important in the long run. It can be hard to stay rational during divorce, especially when dealing with custody agreements, but it is usually worth it.
You have to adjust to a new normal after divorce, and so does your child. Creating the best possible child custody agreement can help both of you on this journey. Getting to that point can be difficult, though. An attorney who is experienced in Pennsylvania law should be able to guide you through the process of addressing your concerns for joint custody, co-parenting and more.