Making Your Child Custody Agreement Work After the Divorce
Once you've finalized your child custody agreement, you might think that the more difficult challenges are behind you. But smart parents will realize that it takes a lot of effort to manage the issues surrounding child custody after a divorce is complete.
You and your family have just gone through months--if not years--of changes. You and your spouse are no longer married and will have to adjust to life as single parents. The dynamics of your relationship with your child--and your child's relationship with you--will change. Your child may have to adjust to having a new step-parent and step-siblings. Either you or your spouse will have moved, and your child may be attending a new school. You, your former spouse and your children are all going through a major life event, but it's critical to your children that you make your child custody arrangement work after the divorce.
Tips for the Custodial Parent
If you have sole custody or joint custody of your children, consider the following ideas to make the transition easier for you, your children and your former spouse:
- Make an effort to keep your ex involved in your child's life
- Keep your ex up to date on your children's activities and accomplishments
- Don't make fun of your ex-spouse's living or financial situation, or things that might be different at your ex's home
- Try to be flexible and accommodate your former spouse's request for changes in the child custody agreement and visitation schedule
- Show your appreciation for things your ex does while with the kids
- Discuss parenting issues with your ex, but out of earshot of your children
Tips for Non-Custodial Parents
If your former spouse has custody of your children, consider the following ideas to make the transition easier for you, your children and your former spouse:
- Make every effort to stay involved in your children's lives and activities
- Remember that your ex is now responsible for the day-to-day well being of your children, which takes a tremendous amount of work. Acknowledge his or her efforts
- Even if your children don't have their own bedroom at your residence, keep a set of personal items-- such as pajamas, toiletries and toys--so that it feels like home to them
- Don't feel as if you have to make every moment with your children memorable, because it can add to the stress of a visit
- Keep in regular touch with your children by phone, mail, e-mail and video chat when you're not together in person
Tips for Both Parents Dealing with Child Custody After Divorce
Never forget that you, your former spouse and your children are all going through a period of significant adjustment. Here are some things that both parents should remember when dealing with child custody issues after the divorce:
- Put aside any negative feelings for your ex-spouse
- Do not let your children see any displays of anger or hostility toward your former spouse
- Don't attempt to manipulate your children to get even with your ex
- If you're unable to resolve custody disputes together, work with child custody and visitation lawyers to solve the problems rather than letting them linger.