How do my ex and I figure out custody and placement of our children? What are the best options?
Posted: December 11, 2015
Nicole Myers, MS, LPC
It can be exhausting and painful to consider having less time with your children. You're used to seeing and caring for your children on a daily basis and now have to give up some of that placement time. You have been able to make decisions about your children's care within your household and now will need to share such custody choices. With divorce, you have to negotiate this unwanted change along with your own emotional, financial and physical adjustments. Having children together means having to continue to interact with our ex when many times we would rather forget that person even exists.
We can be most successful in managing custody and placement issues if we follow a few simple rules. One, custody and placement is about our children's needs, not our anger and hurt with our ex. Two, set a consistent schedule and stick to it as much as possible will reduce reasons for the adults to argue and the children to be confused. Three, communicate directly with our ex about our children's needs and upcoming events to keep children out of adult decisions. Four, remember our children still deserve as much time with both parents as much as possible, only separately.
When we co-parent successfully after divorce, our children have an easier time adjusting to the change, making our lives easier as well. Our children are not getting divorced, their parents are. They remain family with both parents. Things will come up making it difficult to stick rigidly to a schedule; open communication with your ex will encourage better cooperation. Writing out the schedule on a calendar and noting changes will make it visible and easier to follow for children and adults.
Remember, we got divorced but our children still belong to a family that includes ourselves and our ex-spouse.
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