Shared custody, sometimes called shared parenting, isn’t easy for anyone, but if the judge granted both parents time with the children, you want to make it as easy on them as possible. There are some things you can do to help your children thrive in both homes.
1. Set Reasonable Exchange Times
If your children are young and still nap, don’t set the exchange time just before or during nap time. It’s a hard enough adjustment for the child and if they’re overly tired the exchange will go worse than if they are well-rested. The same goes for being hungry. If at all possible, try to make the parenting switch after naps or meals.
2. Be Flexible
Of course, you’re excited to see your child, but if he or she has a birthday party or other event to attend, don’t interrupt the event just because it’s “your time” and the event is for the other parent’s friend or relative. Be fair to the other parent and give them notice if something will interfere with the normal exchange; in return, allow them additional time on the other end.
3. Switch During School Hours
Some of the smoothest custody exchanges happen when the child isn’t thinking about it. If you switch on a school or daycare day, have one parent drop off the child and the other pick them up. As long as the child knows where to go or which car to expect, this is one of the most positive ways to switch homes. Just be sure to notify the school or daycare so they know which parent is picking up on any given day.
4. Never Argue or Discuss Custody Issues in Front of the Child
Even if the other parent is late or otherwise inconsiderate, don’t have the argument in front of your children. This is already a stressful time for them. Remember, your child loves both of you and it can negatively impact your time with them if they see you “being mean” or fighting with the other parent.
If you have a shared parenting or custody arrangement that isn’t working for you or your children or if their other parent isn’t abiding by a visitation schedule, we can help. We will work with you to find a solution with the former partner that benefits the children. Call us at 727-584-8182 for a free initial consultation.