How To Make Joint Custody Work

Divorce is hard. It is even harder for families with children. Children need their Mother and their Father in their lives. 
One possible option for divorcing parents is joint custody. It is not an easy task, and not for every situation, but worthwhile for children if both parents work at 

Difficulty: Challenging Instructions Things You’ll Need:
Love for your children 

Step 1

Attitude adjustment. Set your personal feelings toward your ex-spouse aside. Focus on your children and what needs to be done for them. Make their feelings and needs a top priority. 

You don’t have to be friends with your ex-spouse, but you do have to be civil, flexible, and willing to work together for the good of the children. It really is all about the attitude and both parents have to have a good one to make this successful. Do not bad mouth the other ex-spouse (even if they deserve it) in front of the children. Remember, they will always love both of you. If you absolutely cannot get along with your ex-spouse, then this plan is not for you.

Step 2

Residency. It is best (if possible) to live within a close proximity to each other, and the children’s school. As you adjust to the new schedule of life after divorce, no matter how planned and prepared you are, there will always be a need to stop at the other parent’s residence to pick up a forgotten item, an unfinished homework assignment, or various other reasons.

Step 3

Children’s Stuff. Joint custody can work, but it will cost more. Be prepared for that. The children really need to feel as if they are home at both residences. 

One way to reach that goal is to have two sets of clothes, toys, and personal items so that they do not feel like they are living out of a suitcase. They need to have their own rooms or shared rooms at each house. There will always being something they have to bring back and forth, but the goal of the parents is to work that to a minimum.

Step 4

Schedule. The best schedule is either every other week with a parent (which is what I have experienced) or every other two weeks with a parent. 

The nice thing about this schedule is consistency. It is very easy to get in a routine starting with a parent on a Sunday night. That way you have entire school week and weekend together, then they switch to the other parent on Sunday and they have a school week and full weekend with them. Work together with the other parent for similar bedtimes and rules. Keep consistent at both households. 

Remember, even though you are divorced, you are still their parents and if you were still together, there would be consistent rules and expectations. Develop a parenting plan and stick to it.