Parents going through a divorce in Florida may already be familiar with the term co-parenting, which is a joint custody arrangement in which both parents actively participate in their children’s upbringing. Joint custody is typically better for kids than sole custody, but it can be tough on the parents, who are often at odds with each other. Parents trying to make joint custody work should adhere to some tips from professionals.
The importance of communication
When co-parenting, it is very important for parents to be in communication regarding any necessary custody schedule changes or regarding decisions that have to be made regarding the children. If it is too hard for parents to have a civilized meeting in person, they need to find out what works for them, like texting or emailing.
Parents should also encourage open communication with their children. Divorce presents a unique emotional challenge for children, and parents should let their kids know that they are free to express their feelings in a non-judgmental zone. It can also be a good idea to allow older children to have some input in the custody scheduling process itself.
Being flexible with the custody schedule
Life is unpredictable, so parents should not be surprised when they encounter difficulties sticking to a child custody schedule. If something comes up at work, parents should be willing to accommodate each other. Parents should also be willing to make more permanent custody changes if necessary, such as if a child takes up an after-school activity that impacts the amount of time that the child is able to spend with one or both parents on weekdays.
Putting the children first
Many parents let their egos and their desire to “win” get in the way of doing what is best for their child, such as by pushing for a custody schedule just to spite the other parent. Parents should remember that joint custody is about their kids, so parents should try their best to support each other and to not say negative things about each other to their children. When issues do arise, a family law attorney can help.