Sharing custody

If the parents decide to sharing custody and both ex-partners aim for consistency, geniality, and teamwork, the details of child-rearing decisions tend to become much easier. Parenting and sharing custody is full of decisions you need to make. Parenting as a team is a necessity for your children's today's well being and for their happy future.

The Relationship With Your Ex

After your divorce, you have to build a new relationship with your ex. This relationship is not about what is going on in your new personal and private lives, but only about your children. This way it serves a clear purpose on which both of you can focus. Be respectful towards each other. Do not fight, and especially not in front of the children. Accept the bad habits of the other parent.

Consistency

It's healthy for children to be exposed to different perspectives and to learn to be flexible. They also need to know they're living under the same basic set of expectations at each home. Aiming for consistency between your home and your ex-partner's avoids confusion for your children.

  • Rules don't have to be exactly the same between two households, but you better establish generally consistent guidelines. You children should not have to negotiate between two radically different disciplinary environments. Important lifestyle rules, homework issues, curfews, and off-limit activities, should be similar in both households.
  • Try to follow similar systems of consequences for discipline. Even if the infraction didn't happen under your roof. If your kids have lost TV privileges while at your ex's house, follow through with the restriction. The same should be done for rewarding good behavior.
  • Aim for some consistency in your children's schedules. Making meals, homework, and bedtimes similar go a long way toward your child's adjustment to having two homes.

Important Issues

On making major decisions both of the parents need to be open, honest, and straightforward. This is crucial to both the relationship between the ex-partners and to your children's well being.

  • Effective custody sharing helps parents focus on the best medical care for the children. Keep each other in the loop, whether one designated parent communicates primarily with health care professionals or you attend medical appointments together.
  • For maintaining a stable environment for the children, school plays a major role. Be sure to let them know about changes in your child's living situation. Share with your ex-parntner class schedules, extra-curricular activities, and parent-teacher conferences, and be polite to your ex-partner at school or sports events.
  • The cost of maintaining two separate households can strain effective sharing custody. Set a realistic budget and keep accurate records for shared expenses. Be thankful for opportunities provided by your ex-partner for your children that you cannot provide. The cost of maintaining two separate households can strain effective sharing custody. Set a realistic budget and keep accurate records for shared expenses. Be thankful for opportunities provided by your ex-partner for your children that you cannot provide.

Disagreements

In sharing custody, you and your ex-partner will disagree about certain issues. The following topics will help you getting through difficult patches:

  • Show Respect. Being considerate and respectful includes letting your ex-partner know about school events, being flexible about your schedule when possible, and taking his or her opinion seriously.
  • Keep talking. If you disagree about something important, you will need to continue to communicate. Just never discuss your differences of opinions with or in front of your children. If you still can't agree, talk to a third party, like a therapist or mediator.
  • If you disagree about important issues like a medical surgery or certain school for your children, keep the discussion going. But if you want your child in bed by 7:30 and your ex says 8:00, try to let it go and save your energy for the bigger issues.
  • You will have to compromise to your ex spouse's point of view as often as he or she comes around to yours. It may not always be your first choice, but compromise allows you both to “win,” and makes both of you more likely to be flexible in the future.
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