Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN
Sharing child custody can be difficult, but it is the reality for many people who have seen marriages or relationships end.
Here are some tips from your local Nashville divorce attorney Yancy Belcher that help make joint custody work:
Stay positive. Various sources, be they parenting experts or custody attorneys, agree: badmouthing your ex is never a good idea. No matter what happened in your relationship, your child still loves your former significant other. Keep any negative feelings about your ex to yourself—at least when your child is around and can hear. Remember, just because someone may have turned out to be a bad relationship partner, they still can be a good parent to your child.
Check your ego. Custody is about your children, not continuing any grudge between you and your former partner. Never treat time with your child as a prize that is up for grabs. Joint custody is going to work best when both parents check their ego and realize that what is best for your child is not always best for you—or fair.
Be realistic. Keep a realistic view of your custody situation. Any joint custody arrangement should take into account the following factors: the ages and personalities of each of your children, your family schedule, your work and social commitments, the academic and extracurricular activities of each of your children, and the distance between your home and that of the other parent.
Communicate. This may be the most important aspect of any joint custody situation. Find the communication method that works best for you—whether it be using an online calendar, calling, texting, or emailing. You also may consider keeping a record of your communications, which then can be admitted in court if any disagreements happen in the future.
Pick your battles. Parenting is difficult for everyone, and co-parenting in a joint custody situation compounds the complexity and logistical challenges. Communication remains the best prevention against conflicts but, at some point, disagreements are going to be inevitable. When a conflict arises, try to maintain perspective. Ask yourself if the conflict is truly worth fighting—which could mean taking it to court. Taking a hardline stance on an issue eventually could mean going in front of a judge, which could lead to a legally enforced decision that no one involved will like.
Make sure your child feels heard. Joint custody should put the child first, so make sure your child or children feel free to express their feelings, questions, and concerns about the divorce and custody arrangement. The level of input will vary depending on age; clearly, preteens and teenagers will have more of a voice in the custody schedule than, say, a first-grader. Also, allowing your child to have input should make him or her more agreeable to the schedule once it is official.
Divorce Attorney in Mt. Juliet
The Law Office of Yancy Belcher has the experience and expertise to deal with any type of custody situation. If you need legal counsel to set up a joint custody agreement or have a disagreement in your current child custody situation that may require going to the courts, contact our office at (615) 773-2889 for a free consultation.
The Law Office of Yancy Belcher is proud to fight for our clients in the Middle Tennessee communities of Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, and Nashville.