It’s common for judges to award parents joint custody unless there are factors that the court is made aware of that wouldn’t make such an arrangement in a child’s best interest.
Many judges champion a joint custody arrangement because they believe it gives children a chance to develop a strong bond with both parents. Such an arrangement often means children must travel back and forth between homes and adapt to different rules. This can be stressful for your children. There are things that you can do to make it less stressful.
How can you make joint custody less stressful for your kids?
It’s likely that your child is involved in many extracurricular activities and has certain friends with whom they regularly socialize in addition to other regular obligations. Anything that disrupts a child’s routine can be stressful for them.
You and your co-parent should be flexible when arranging trade-offs so that they don’t interfere with your child’s extracurricular activities. You should also get on the same page when setting house rules. Allowing your child to take creature comforts to your co-parent’s home is also important.
The younger a child is, the more likely they are to feel an attachment to their parents. It can cause kids significant stress to be away from their parents for too long. You may want to help them by having trade-offs be more frequent instead of spending prolonged periods at either home. You’ll want to ensure that your child has access to a phone for communication when spending time with your co-parent.
It’s also important for you and your co-parent to keep any potential conflicts out of the earshot of your child. It can affect your child’s behaviors if you don’t. This will minimize the chances of them thinking that they were to blame for your divorce. Having them see a counselor to discuss their feelings may also be ideal.
No shared custody agreement is perfect, but if you make it a priority to put your child’s needs first, including minimizing conflict and disruptions they have to process, it will work better for everyone involved. Also, remember that modifications are an option if the plan you agreed to on paper ends up not being best for you.