One of the most complicated aspects of divorce is determining what will happen to the children. Both parents naturally want to protect their kids and spend as much time as possible with them, but there is evidence to suggest that children tend to do better when allowed to maintain regular contact with both parents after a divorce. For many Virginia families, a joint custody arrangement makes the most sense and provides the kids with a sense of stability and security.
Divorce is difficult, and there can be many strong emotions that accompany this decision. However, temporary feelings are often poor indicators of what will truly be best long-term. It may be tempting to make choices that are not truly wise, but your kids will benefit when you can set aside your feelings and focus on what is ideal for them. With that in mind, it may be helpful for you to learn more about steps you can take to make joint custody easier for the entire family.
The difficulties of co-parenting and joint custody
Even if both parents agree that it is best for their children, co-parenting and joint custody are not easy. However, with an intentional effort, it is possible to overcome challenges and develop a respectful working relationship with the other parent. As you consider how to navigate this process, the following tips may be helpful to you:
- Separate your feelings from your behavior toward the other parent.
- Don’t make your children feel as if they are in the middle or need to take messages between parents.
- Work diligently to establish a good communication system with the other parent.
- Keep the conversations focused on the kids when speaking with the other parent.
- Try to be consistent with the routine for the children.
- Make important decisions as co-parents, and work together to resolve conflict.
- Establish a system for smooth transitions between homes.
It may take some time, but consistency and a commitment to protecting the best interests of the children can make the entire co-parenting process smoother and easier for the entire family. Your efforts will pay off, and you will find that your kids adjust to their post-divorce lives with less stress and emotional trauma. While joint custody is not for everyone, it is worth considering whether co-parenting will be best for your individual situation.