In the state of California, joint legal custody is defined as shared responsibility for the welfare of children and the decisions made on their behalf after a divorce. Physical custody may be shared equally in these arrangements or may be managed by one parent with visitation for the other parent. If you are considering joint custody in California, here are six helpful tips for making it work for you and your family.
Put the Kids First
It may be tempting to rehash arguments and bring up issues involved in your divorce with your former partner. Avoiding these points of contention and focusing on the needs of your children can allow you to build a more amicable relationship. This can allow you to work together more easily and come to necessary compromises when deciding on matters related to education, religion, health care and other elements of your child’s life.
Leave Some Room for Flexibility
Creating ironclad rules about visitation, pick-up times and vacations can lead to trouble when issues arise that require changes to these arrangements. By allowing some wiggle room and permitting some alterations to schedules, you can ensure that your children enjoy time with both parents while building a cordial relationship with your former spouse.
Work on Your Communication Skills
Finding the most practical and convenient ways to contact your former partner regarding school issues, scheduling and other matters related to your children can help you manage your time more effectively. Email, texting and shared calendars are among the most common and easy-to-use technologies. By incorporating these communication tools into your daily routines, you can touch base with your former spouse and your children regarding any changes to your schedule or upcoming events.
Present a United Front
Even if you are still at odds with your former partner, making sure you are on the same page regarding extracurricular activities, discipline and educational options can allow you to support each other when discussing these matters with your children. This approach can help you to avoid situations in which your child may attempt to play one parent against the other to achieve his or her goals.
Accept Input from Your Children
In many cases, your children may have their own ideas and requests about the custody arrangements made on their behalf. Incorporating their suggestions into your arrangement for joint custody in California can often allow things to go more smoothly for everyone involved and can help your children to feel heard and understood during this transitional period.
Move on From Mistakes
As parents, both you and your former partner will sometimes make mistakes. Taking steps to fix these errors without assigning blame can help you maintain a working relationship with the other parent in the equation. By being tolerant and forgiving of the mistakes of others, you can also set an excellent example for your children in the right way to treat others even after a romantic relationship has ended.
These six strategies can allow you to build a solid foundation for your children and to manage the legal and emotional complexities of joint custody in California.