Sharing custody of your children will be a challenge even if the two of you try to handle things gracefully. Inevitably, emotions will become intense and there will be challenges that make sharing custody more difficult than usual.
As you negotiate the division of parental rights and responsibilities with the other parent of your children, you can address numerous issues to prevent them from causing disputes later in your co-parenting relationship. Every family has unique concerns that they may need to address in their parenting plans, but there are certain issues that are consistently challenging for most families sharing custody across two households.
What issues can you address when negotiating your parenting plan to minimize conflict in the future?
The best way to encourage good behavior from your children is to maintain consistent standards across both households. From when they go to bed at night to how long they can watch television or stay on the internet each day, there are many rules that will be easiest to enforce if both of you maintain the same rule in your home.
Being clear about your expectations regarding your children’s grades and how they treat each other will help them more easily comply. There are certain disciplinary standards that you will want to discuss and consistently enforce to avoid conflict with one another and the children.
How to address changes and disagreements
Few things can be as frustrating as finding out that you won’t have the children just an hour before your parenting time starts. Requiring proactive communication, such as at least 24 hours’ notice before any significant change to your parenting schedule unless there is an emergency, can be a way to prevent last-minute changes from causing challenges for either parent.
You may also want to include some rules in your parenting plan for constant resolution if the two of you end up disagreeing about whether your oldest is ready to start driver’s training or some other parenting decision in the future.
How you will handle unusual costs
If your child joins one sports team per season at school, their extracurricular activities could quickly cost your family thousands of dollars and place intense pressure on your parenting schedule. So could a teen driver’s insurance costs and training courses.
You need to have a system in place for adjusting your parenting plan to a child’s changing schedule as they grow older and for absorbing costs like a formal dress for homecoming or a class ring in a way that would be fair to the whole family.
Identifying and addressing parenting issues before they affect your relationship will make shared custody less stressful for your family.