Divorce can be far from easy, especially if you are a parent. One of the most contentious issues is child custody. Shared custody can be an amicable enough solution because it allows both parents to spend at least some time with the children—but it’s often far from easy.
Getting to spend only part of your time with your beloved kids while they are with your ex-spouse can be depressing, frustrating or worse. A little advice can’t hurt. Whether you have been sharing custody with your ex-spouse for years or you’re just beginning to discuss the custody agreement, some more wisdom may make parenting after divorce smoother.
Here are five tips for divorced parents about shared child custody:
- Don’t ask your kid to pick between parents — Deciding which parent to live with is a heartbreaking choice no child should have to make.
- Make sure your kid spends enough time with both you and your ex-spouse — Unless the child would be put at risk with only one parent, it’s important the child has both parents in their life.
- Don’t let your kid feel guilty for being with your ex-spouse — A child deserves to enjoy time with both his or her parents. You are an adult, and you can vent your frustrations to someone else.
- Remember your kid’s needs are the No. 1 priority — Doing what’s right for your child’s health, learning and development are more important than an even 50/50 time split between parents.
- Be honest with your ex-spouse and talk often — There are numerous decisions that need to be made in a kid’s life, and both parents should be involved in discussing and making those choices.
There are many other basic tips, like don’t drop your kid off late to your ex-spouse’s, and never disparage your ex-spouse when your child is close enough to hear it, but these few are a good start toward getting along better as parents.
Even with the best advice and the best intentions, child custody issues can happen, and there’s a lot of legalities to navigate. That’s why it’s important to know your legal options and seek an attorney who is experienced with family law.