Whether it’s you or someone you’re dating involved in custody issues, to say that it is delicate matter is hardly doing the situation justice. These situations can be downright awkward, and can easily derail a relationship filled with potential.
Custody exchanges are not only common ground for conflict between parents, but couples dating as well. Regardless, it’s critical to remember that ultimately, negatively affects the well being of the child and this is where the focus should be.
The child’s happiness and comfort is the most important aspect when it comes to sharing custody. This can be a stressful situation both for the everyone involved, which is why we’ve put together these 5 tips for keeping the custody process smooth.
The actual exchange from parent to parent can be one of the most stressful aspects for a child. Reducing the amount of times the child is transferred from one to the other can minimize the stress of the situation for both the child and the parents.
Constant interruptions to a child’s schedule are far from beneficial. Let the child stay with each parent long enough to take a breath, rather than constantly being juggled around.
Communication is possibly one of the most important aspects of the custody process. It is crucial that both parents communicate effectively, not necessarily regularly, but enough to ensure they are on the same page. As a parent, you must be aware of the child’s needs, schedules, activities, etc., and must always be aware of meeting times and places in order for the process to unfold smoothly. If this means getting a family lawyer involved, so be it.
It is also important for both parents to communicate with the child. Children need to feel like they are heard, and must have an outlet for expressing how they feel about certain situations.
Being disrespectful, rude, or inconsiderate to the other parent will not only make the process less pleasant for you as a parent, but will also create an environment of hostility or anger, making the situation uncomfortable and unpleasant for the child. Children are also very impressionable, and therefore it is important to treat your child’s other parent respectfully, setting a positive example for your child.
Create a Plan
Having a schedule laid out is imperative to the process playing out in an organized manner. Having set meeting places and exchange times, and consistent routines can ease the burden on both parents and children during this process. It is important to avoid last minute changes, as this can cause undue stress to the child and the other parent, but if last minute changes are unavoidable, remember that communication is key.
Let the other parent know about changes as soon as you can, and work together to come up with a new strategy.
Revise the Schedule When Necessary
Life isn’t always a perfect routine. Circumstances change, situations arise, and your schedule should evolve appropriately for such. If the schedule you are currently using no longer works for the child, yourself, or the other parent, it is important to review the schedule and rearrange it in a way that works for everyone. Multiple factors can lead to a schedule change such as new extracurricular activities for the child or a parent moving or getting a new job.
It is important to remember that the custody process is in place to meet the best interests of the child. Custody exchanges can be stressful and uncomfortable for all parties involved, but those feelings can be eased with effective communication, respectful behaviour, and proper scheduling.
These 5 tips for keeping the custody process smooth can aid you in ensuring the transition from parent to parent is comfortable and positive for the child.