Child custody matters following a divorce can put your nerves to the test. As a newly single parent, you want to do your best to help your child adjust to post-divorce life.
You must also work with the other parent, which can be challenging, especially if the divorce was less than amicable. Here are four tips to help you manage custody issues in the best interests of your child.
1. Explain the custody arrangement
To relieve feelings of anxiety, let your son or daughter know what to expect of the custody arrangement. Once the visitation schedule is in place, stick to it. For example, both you and the other parent should adhere to the agreed-upon drop-off and pick-up times. Do not be casual about it, and do not fail to show up when your child expects you to, because this could cause feelings of anxiety or fear.
2. Create a welcoming environment
In a post-divorce world, your child lives between two homes. Create a welcoming atmosphere in the new home with books, toys and other items your child has in the main residence. Your child should have his or her own room; ask for help in selecting bedding and towels and perhaps paint colors for the walls. Set matching schedules in both homes so that your child knows when to do homework, have dinner or enjoy family time. Children do well when they can rely on a routine.
3. Keep a united front
No matter what your relationship is with your ex, you must maintain lines of communication about matters that concern your child. If communication appears to be impossible, you may want to talk about options with a family law professional. It is important for you and the other parent to maintain a united front for child-rearing.
4. Be flexible
You may be as stubborn as your ex-spouse, so do a bit of self-analysis. Can you give up a little to reach a compromise on a certain issue? Can you give up a little to achieve a workable plan? Child custody arrangements run on a considerable amount of give and take, all in the best interests of your child.