It isn't easy to know that your marriage is falling apart, decide to go through the divorce process, and then have to give up your child half the time. However, the best way to get through it all—for you and your child—is to make joint custody work. The only way to make joint custody work is to ensure that both parents are respectful of one another, cooperate with each other, keep personal emotions in check, and agree on joint custody arrangements together. So, here are a few tips to help you make joint custody work so that everyone can be as happy as possible.
Tip #1: Avoid Speaking Poorly of the Ex
While you may not have been able to make things work with the other parent, you should never speak poorly of him or her, especially in front of your child. Your child is made up of the best parts of you and your ex, so you must realize that when you speak poorly of your ex, your child is thinking those things about themselves. You also must realize that you may be upset with your ex, but your child loves them as a parent. So, keep your feelings to yourself—no matter how hard it may be.
Tip #2: Realize That Custody Isn't About You
You have already been through the part that was about you—divorce. Now, it is time to put all of your focus on your child as you start to deal with custody. Don't look at your child as a prize that needs to be won; your child is a gift that should be cherished at all costs. You and your ex both need to set aside your egos and think about what is best for your child, and in most cases, that is going to be joint custody so that your child can see both parents.
Tip #3: Choose an Arrangement That Reflects Your Child
There is not a set custody arrangement that is going to work with every single child and family. Each child and family is different. You need to create a custody arrangement that reflects your child's age, needs, and activities. So, make sure to consider everything from the career commitments of each parent, your child's age and academic and extra-curricular activities, childcare arrangements, the distance between homes, etc.
Talk to a family law attorney about drafting a custody arrangement that will work for both parents while keeping the child's best interests at heart.