Trying to come up with suitable terms for child custody is challenging. Not only do you have to think about what works for you, your ex's needs also have to be considered. There comes a time when you are going through other major life changes.
As you work with your ex to come up with the plan for parenting the children you share, remember that you need to focus on what is going to help now. As your child matures, certain points might change. This is what modifications are for. Here are some points to help you when are getting ready to embark on this process:
Communication can help
Even if you and your ex don't get along, you still need to communicate with them because of the children. Respect is a must when you are speaking to your ex. Both adults should avoid speaking harshly or being mean. Letting your children have free access to contact either parent at any time can help them to feel more secure as they learn how to live between two homes.
Determine what style of parenting works
There are many types of parenting styles that you might be able to use. You and your ex will determine which is appropriate together. Some people choose parallel parenting, which means there are distinct sets of rules in each home. Others use shared parenting, which means both parents have equal access to the children and equal responsibilities with the kids. Co-parenting is another option, which involves the parents working as one unit to handle everything related to the children, sometimes including spending holidays together.
Set specific terms
The specific terms of your child custody agreements govern every area of the parenting relationship. You need to ensure that it is as detailed as necessary, but that it also leaves room for flexibility. This should include:
- A schedule or plan for parenting time
- Communication terms such as times of day when non-emergencies can be discussed
- List of rules that will apply in both homes
- Requirements for respect
- Conflict resolution methods
Establish a routine
Get a routine established at your home as soon as you can. Your children need stability and to know what's coming. Work with them to find out exactly what they need and try to help them work through any challenges that come up. Adjustments might need to be made over time. Be sure that you set the house rules and consequences from the start so that the children don't think they can ignore the rules.