Divorcing parents living in New York have a lot of things to figure out, from deciding what constitutes a fair division of assets to creating a child custody schedule. Ideally, each parent should be involved in his or her children’s lives, and sharing custody equally or near-equally is, generally, the recommended option. You may already know that this is easier said than done, and chances are you have already encountered disagreements with your ex regarding custody. Though you cannot control your ex, there are steps you can take to make the joint custody process easier.
Be the bigger person
When you and your ex have a disagreement regarding a child custody issue, you should ask yourself, “Just how important is this?” and pick your battles accordingly even if you feel you are in the right. There is a difference between your ex allowing your child an extra half-hour of TV time and letting your 14-year-old go to a party with no supervision.
You should also refrain from saying negative things about your ex to your children even if you suspect your ex is doing the same about you. The more you put your children in the middle of your divorce, the harder you are making things on them. Joint custody should be about your children, not about you and your ex.
Customize your custody schedule
Try to create an age-appropriate custody schedule for your children. Younger children have a harder time going long periods of time without seeing one parent or the other, so an alternating week schedule is generally not recommended for younger children. You should also be willing to make changes as your children develop, and you should try to be accommodating of your ex when, say, he or she has a work emergency.
Communicate with your children
Let your children know that home is a safe space for them to open up about their feelings regarding the divorce or otherwise. When your children do share, be patient and a good listener, and do not make the conversation about you. Leave your marital disputes for discussion with your therapist and family law attorney.