Joint custody or shared custody in a Connecticut divorce occurs when a court awards the child’s care equally to both parents. Except when issues such as child abuse, drug abuse or domestic violence are involved in a divorce, courts usually prefer to have both parents take an active role in their child’s upbringing.
Research has shown that the nature of the relationship between divorced parents will have an impact on the child’s emotional and psychological well-being. However, it requires some commitment and creative effort from both parents to manage a healthy and positive child rearing after a divorce.
Making it Work
When you are going through the divorce process, it is important to recognize that your marriage might have ended, but your family has not. Your foremost priority should be to act in the best interests of your child. That means responsible and mature co-parenting and placing your child’s needs before your own at all times.
You can begin on this new but constructive path after your divorce by separating your personal relationship with your ex-spouse from your new relationship with him or her as a co-parent. It will help if you and the other parent can both understand that your new relationship as co-parents is not about either of you, but entirely about the happy and healthy rearing of your children.
Never Put Your Child in the Middle
While it is understandable that your bitterness or resentment about your marriage dissolution may never completely disappear, you need to compartmentalize your emotions. Keep reminding yourself that your issues with your former spouse are not your child’s issues. Therefore, your child need not carry the same bitterness or resentment against the other parent.
Do not use your children as messengers
If you try to convey any messages to the other parent through your kids, you are putting them at the center of your personal conflict. Call, text or email your former spouse directly when you have to and keep the children out of your relationship issues.
Never speak negatively to the child about the co-parent
If you have strong feelings against your ex-spouse, keep them to yourself. Do not make negative comments about him or her in front of your child, and never make them feel as if they have to choose their loyalties. Allow your child the right to maintain a positive relationship with their other parent without any pressure or influence.
Maintain Constructive Communication with the Co-Parent
Positive communication with your former spouse begins with listening. When you listen patiently, you are conveying to the other parent that you respect their point of view regarding child rearing, even if you may not agree with it.
Exercise restraint in your speech
Communicating as co-parents is most likely going to be unavoidable through the entire length of your child’s younger years (if not longer). Practice restraint and train your mind to not overreact to anything that the other party may say. Over time, you will learn to switch off the emotional buttons he or she may try to press.
Commit to frequent engagement
While it is going to be tough in the initial stages after your divorce, regular and consistent engagement with your former spouse will make life easier for everyone. When you communicate frequently with the co-parent, your children will feel more secure and start believing they have a united force to protect them.
Restrict conversations to children’s issues
During your exchanges with your ex, never allow the conversation to digress into conflicting areas related to your needs or the other party’s needs. All communication should always be only about your child’s needs.
Make Key Decisions about Your Child Jointly
All major decisions about your child’s life should involve both you and the other parent. In the best interests of your child, it is vital for you to be forthcoming and transparent about important issues concerning your child.
Whether you both attend the child’s medical appointments together, or mutually decide to designate one of you to engage primarily with the medical professionals, keep one another updated and informed.
Following a divorce, make sure that you inform your child’s school about the changed situation at your home. Talk ahead of time with the other parent about class and exam schedules, parent-teacher conferences, extra-curricular activities, and events where your child is participating.
Financial issues related to the child’s expenses often become a bone of contention between co-parents. Create a mutually agreeable budget and maintain updated records for all shared expenses. If the co-parent provides an opportunity for your child that you could not provide, accept it graciously.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with an Accomplished Divorce Attorney
If you are contemplating a divorce or going through divorce or child custody proceedings, you need strong legal counsel by your side. Speak to the experienced Connecticut divorce lawyers at APEX Law Firm, LLC today. Call us at 860-900-0900 or contact us online for a consultation.