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Tips for sharing physical child custody

If you have shared physical custody with the other parent of your child in California, the two of you face a number of challenges that are both logistical and emotional. However, it is possible to co-parent effectively with a few guidelines in mind.

Have a schedule

Parents should make an effort to create a custody schedule that takes the needs of their children into account as well as their own obligations. This is not the time for a parent who works long hours to try to get back at the ex-spouse with an attempt at more custody time. While a common co-parenting arrangement is for children to alternate weeks with each parent, this can seem like a long time for younger children to go without seeing the other parent. Parents might want the children to move back and forth every two or three days in this situation. They should also be aware that over time, alterations may be needed as children get older and their needs change.

Have the right attitude

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that shared custody is supposed to be about the best interests of the child. This means recognizing the value of the child’s relationship with the other parent and not badmouthing that parent in the child’s presence. You may need to find a way to communicate, such as over text or even using software designed for parents sharing custody, that reduces the likelihood of conflict.

When conflict does arise, you should make an effort to reach a resolution without going to court. You may have different parenting styles, and this does not make either of you a poor parent. However, there may be situations in which the other parent is not holding up their part of the child custody and parenting time agreement, making a modification necessary. Your attorney may help you understand the available options.