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Making joint custody work for everyone

Divorced couples in Washington might struggle to establish a peaceful co-parenting plan that works for everyone’s schedule. The process of divvying up holidays, coordinating schedules and figuring out the logistics of shuffling children between two houses can be hard. Making these important arrangements while dealing with the grief, unrest and conflict that divorce can bring may make matters even worse.

As difficult as divorce can be, there are several things you can do to make joint child custody work for you, your ex and your children. Shared custody arrangements work best when both parents agree to put their differences aside and remain focused on the best interests of the child.

The most imperative step to making joint custody work for all parties involved is to refrain from speaking poorly of your ex to your children. As angry as you may be at your ex-spouse, remember that your child still loves him or her. Badmouthing your ex will only cause your child to feel conflicted.

Another thing to keep in mind is that shared custody is more about your child’s feelings than your own. Although the divorce may have been about you, custody arrangements are all about your child. Rather than entering into the trap of emotional tunnel vision, try to remain focused on how your child might feel during this major transition.

Finally, when deciding on a shared custody agreement, custom-tailor your arrangement to your child’s needs and schedule. Account for academic or extracurricular activities your child is committed to. Don’t forget to take your and your ex’s careers and social commitments into account, too.

Deciding on a joint custody agreement can be extremely difficult, especially when emotions are already running high. If you find yourself in this situation, you might consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney.