With holidays right around the corner, it may seem like an impossible task to work out a schedule with your future ex-husband. Will the kids spend half the day with you on Thanksgiving and the other half with him? What will you do about their winter break? Will you have to try to manage a continuous shuffle back and forth between your house in Colorado Springs and their father's?
Working out a shared custody arrangement can seem difficult, but there are ways to reduce the stress and make it work. In general, it starts with you and your ex keeping your emotions under control and working together to put the children first. For some tips to make joint custody successful, read further.
It is perfectly natural to have strong feelings about your ex, especially negative ones. If you need to vent about him, your children should not be on the receiving end of it. Save your opinion for your therapist or a night out with the girls. Regardless of your pending divorce and the fact that you may not even be able to tolerate your ex's presence, keep in mind that he still has a role to play in your children's lives and they still love him.
Keep it about them
Child custody is not about you, it is about your children. Keep them as your main focus when you are working out a co-parenting plan. What is best for your children may not be exactly what you want. Put your feelings aside and keep in mind that fighting over your children hurts them the most.
Working full- or part-time and trying to handle your kids' busy schedules on your own is a disaster waiting to happen. Be realistic about your own schedule before you try to fight for sole custody to punish your ex. It may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but sharing custody and working with your ex can ease the strain on you and your kids.
Listen to your child
Your children probably have an opinion about your divorce and the custody situation. Allow them to express it and listen to their thoughts and concerns. Be prepared to answer their questions honestly and provide reassurance when they need it. If one or all of your children have thoughts on the custody arrangement, take that into consideration. They deserve a chance to provide their input into where they will spend their weekends or holidays.
If you are facing divorce and you will have to work out a custody arrangement, the above tips can help you deal with the process. Many studies have shown that shared custody is more beneficial to children than sole custody, so it may be in their best interest to work out a co-parenting plan with your ex.