Daughter hugging mother while father talks in the background

Tips for Parents Who Share Custody

Although you separated from your partner, it does not mean you’ve separated from your children. The first step to handling separation from your spouse is to put your children’s needs first. Your child will need assistance adjusting, so it’s best to collaborate with your ex-partner to create a safe space for them. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. Keep Opinions to Yourself

Kids learn from you. So when they see and hear you speak ill of their other parent, they will do the same. Although you and your ex-partner may no longer be on good terms, it’s not something you should share with your children. Your children may internalize those feelings, thinking you feel the same about them too. Your best option is to express your feelings in private to another adult.

2. Find Time For Communication

Communication is key. There are many ways to communicate with your ex-partner, and you should have a set form of communication, whether it’s through text, messenger apps, emails, or phone calls. Regardless of what platform you choose, you should always set aside time to communicate with your child’s other parent.

Remember, this is for the sake of your own children. Try to be as cordial as possible with your child’s other parent to avoid any excess stress. If an issue arises, try to address it in a professional manner as you would at work.

3. Be Flexible

Court-ordered visitation schedules are great to set a precedent of what your child’s everyday schedule should look like, but sometimes things change. If your ex has something coming up and needs to make changes, try to meet them halfway. If a parent is accommodating to their ex’s schedule, chances are, they will be more likely to do the same in return.

However, it’s important to discuss with your ex that you cannot always be there if something pops up. You deserve to also have your time and schedule respected, which is why it’s essential to create boundaries.

4. Set Boundaries

You need to establish the fact that you also need time and space to yourself just as much as you need time with your child. Be firm with your boundaries when your ex-partner tries to intervene with your scheduled time. Don’t be afraid to speak up when things don’t feel right or if you need some extra time to yourself.

5. Stick to a Schedule

It’s your job as both a parent and an adult to work out a schedule with your ex-partner. Some things to consider when creating a custody schedule are:

  • Your child’s age
  • The distance between you and your ex-partner
  • Your child’s academic and extracurricular activities
  • Each parent’s occupation
  • Personal social commitments

Age is an important factor that needs to be taken into account as a newborn baby has completely different needs than a 14-year-old.

6. Be Accessible

Your first reaction should not be to ignore your ex-partner, no matter what types of terms you ended on. When you’re co-parenting, you should try to be available if any questions arise. Whether it's a quick question about your child’s well-being or a needed conversation about modifying your custody agreement, you want to try and be reasonably accessible.

Be sure to communicate with your ex-partner on when to have these conversations. If you show that you’re willingly accessible and able to communicate responsibly with your ex-partner, they will likely do the same. It can be hard to still keep in contact with an ex, but for your child, it’s worth it.

7. Reach Out When You Need Help

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your ex-partner if you need assistance with duties for your child. Remember, they have another parent too, which means they have additional support.

This also applies to seeing a therapist or seeking a support group. This can be a difficult time for you, and you should not have to go through it alone. You should express your feelings—support groups, therapists, and good friends are great options.

8. Remember Why You’re Doing This

Lastly, remember your why. Try not to get hung up on things in the past and focus on your child’s future. If you’re upset about something your ex-partner said, ask yourself, “Will this matter in a few years?” or, “Is this going to affect my child?”

The point of co-parenting is to make sure your child’s needs are being met, regardless of the situation you are in. Although putting your pride to the side can hurt, if it means the best for your child, it’s worth it.

We’re Here For You

We understand how challenging creating a new normal as a single parent can be. We all hope for the best, but sometimes we run into issues. That’s why the Pearson Butler team is here to assist you. With our resources and years of experience, we have the means to ensure your child’s best interests are being taken care of. To schedule a consultation with our child custody attorneys, call us today at (800) 265-2314 or fill out this form on our website.