Child Time Sharing Tips for Parents
Coming to agreement on a child custody and parenting time arrangement takes time and effort. Even once everything is set to paper, however, that is not the end of the matter. Living through a shared custody arrangement in real life is always more dynamic and complex than whatever can be accounted for in a parenting time plan and final divorce decree. Below, we offer some tips on how to facilitate healthy child time-sharing. Reach out to an experienced New Jersey child custody and parenting time attorney for help with a New Jersey family law matter.
Recognize and Respect the Co-Parenting Arrangement and Responsibilities
Your custody and parenting time arrangement lays the foundations for your rights and responsibilities with respect to your children and your former spouse. Do your best to adhere to those rules and the set schedule. Do not try to take extra time when it’s not your turn, and do not miss out on your own visitation or parenting time. If you have any scheduling conflicts, ideally you can work them out with your co-parent.
Even if your kids are hesitant to spend more time with their other parent, the co-parent has their own legal rights. Part of your responsibility is to ensure that your kids do spend their allotted time with their other parent; unless there’s a problem, kids typically benefit most from being involved with both parents. Do not forget that your parenting time arrangement has the force of law behind it; violating the terms of the custody arrangement could put you in legal trouble.
Remember: Your Kids Have Their Own Lives
When making child custody arrangements, it’s easy to focus only on the schedules of the two parents. Frankly, it’s complicated enough just working around two adult lives, especially if one parent moves across town or to another city. It’s important to remember, however, that your kids are also people with their own schedules and their own needs. As your kids get older, they will have sports, extracurricular activities, hobbies, and even social lives.
Be flexible when implementing a child custody arrangement and adapt to the situation. If your kid needs to be with their other parent for an extra night so that they can participate in a sporting event the next morning, or even so that they can spend the night with a friend, try to work cooperatively to accommodate. Maybe your co-parent has an extra night with the kid this week and you have an extra night next week.
Listen to Your Children’s Concerns
On top of being flexible generally, it’s important to include your kids in the process. Check in with them about how the arrangement is working and any concerns they may have. As they get older, they may need a general adjustment to the situation to account for their changing lives. They may simply have concerns they need to express, and you showing interest in their needs will go a long way. Adjusting to living in two separate households can be difficult and take time. Be encouraging and supportive to help ease your kids through the transition.
Be Realistic About Your Own Time
It’s important to make your children’s needs a top priority. Custody arrangements add in complications and logistical issues that take time. Take into account the time you need to allot to transportation, childcare, and other responsibilities when you make social plans or take on responsibilities at work.
Emails and text messages can quickly resolve scheduling problems without the need for an in-person visit or phone call. Moreover, there are many smartphone applications specifically dedicated to scheduling and child-time sharing activities. Look into these apps and coordinate with your kids and co-parent; marking off dates as unavailable or plugging in an upcoming event so that your co-parent is aware of it can make scheduling much easier and less confrontational.
Get Seasoned Legal Help With Your New Jersey Custody Matter
If you need dedicated and effective legal help with child custody, child visitation, property division, premarital agreements, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.