Tips for sharing custody of your kids

Tips for co-parenting:

  • Focus on your children: Remember the reason you have to deal with your co-parent is because of your amazing children.  As difficult as this may be at times, you would not have your child without them.
  • Choose your battles: It’s easy to get engaged; it is much harder to choose not to get engaged.  Keep a perspective of the big picture, the minutia can be overwhelming.
  • Learn from successful co-parents: Find people who “do it well” -  talk to them, learn from them, use them as your springboard.  Often we hear the horror stories, but if we look to people who set a good example, some of their experience may rub off.
  • DO NOT PUT YOUR CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE: Children have enough stress to deal with.  Little things like “ask your mom about” or “tell your dad” can put your child in a very precarious position.
  • Be polite and kind: It is amazing what a little bit of sugar instead of vinegar will get you.  Try being considerate and mindful of the other parent, and often over time, you can change the dynamic of your co-parenting relationship.
  • Find a forum: It may work differently for every family, but it is important to have open lines of communication.  Many parents have turned to the OurFamilyWizard website because of its ability help diffuse communication issues.

Tips for you:

  • Keep physically active: Studies have shown the mental benefits to staying physically active, such as decreased levels of depression and a higher overall energy level.
  • Eat well: If you are what eat, give yourself the power to get through the day by eating healthy food on a regular schedule.
  • Find an emotional vent: Don’t use your children as a place to dump your frustrations.  Find an appropriate person to vent to - talk to friends, family or setup an appointment with a therapist; the last thing your kids need is more stress.
  • Get in touch with yourself: Sometimes after being in a relationship for a long time, you tend to lose a sense of what you enjoyed on your own.  Ask yourself what you enjoyed doing before your relationship and see how that fits into your life today.  Perhaps not all of what you wanted is realistically attainable today, but that does not mean all is lost.  
  • Stay organized: It’s easy to forget where you put something, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to find what you put it.  To reduce your own stress level, stop using various methods of communication and keep your important co-parenting schedule, messages, expenses, and other vital information well organized.  Using a tool such as the OurFamilyWizard website makes staying organized simple by allowing you and your co-parent to store and share information within one central, easily accessible location.

NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.