How to Adjust to a Joint Custody Schedule?

Joint Custody

Not all parents have joint custody of their children and sometimes agreeing on fair visits is not easy. If you are fighting for the custody of your children or you have simply reached a friendly agreement with your ex for visits, then there are some things you should know to avoid conflicts and above all, so that your children can keep you in their lives as much as possible of possible time.

No matter where you live, normally the visits of separated parents and children are 20% of the total upbringing (not counting the teaching time). There is no fixed schedule for everyone equally since it will depend on the family and personal circumstances of each one who thinks of one option of a visit or another. Some options may be:

  •  Spending alternatives to every other weekend with children
  •  Spending two weekends in a row and another two weekends without children
  •  Spend one night every other weekend
  •  One night visit one night a week
  •  A long summer visit (two to six weeks)
  •  Some parties and birthdays agreed with the ex

These are just a few options, but you should talk to your ex in case it may be longer or shorter. Remember that if you do not have the obligation dictated by a court, you will have to reach a mutual agreement. If there is no agreement or your ex denies you seeing the children, then it is time to go to court.

What you should take into account during the visit?

It is necessary that you talk to your ex and that you have in mind your children leaving aside your differences. Children and their needs come before you, so if you have the syndrome of innate selfishness, it is better that you put it aside too. This is especially important if your children are young or the separation is recent. Children (and you as adults too) need a schedule that is predictable and consistent, but also flexible in any case.

You should all agree on the schedule and start developing it, bearing in mind that there may be days when you should be somewhat more flexible in its compliance. For example, if you have been with your children on a weekend but during the week there is a soccer game of your son that you want to go to, talk to your ex to also spend that time with your son. Children need their parents, even if they are no longer a couple. Although you as parents sometimes have to get out of your comfort zone, this is essential for your children, because they need you both!

Ideally, think about how to spend as much time as possible with children. Avoiding unnecessary fights or arguments, focusing on the children and their main needs. If you were with your children every day before the breakup, going to see them once or twice a week can be very hard for everyone involved.

How to have balanced visiting hours?

Start by knowing that you have to start from 20% of the total time as a base, and from there increase what you agree to spend more time with the children if possible. If you live too far, it may be difficult to organize and the ideal would be to find a way to be as close as possible to your children. Think that your children grow up and their childhood must be spent by your side as long as possible.

It is important to put the visiting hours in writing so that everyone is aware and above all so that the agreements are not forgotten. This will also help you have routines within a formal parenting plan with your ex. You can have rules on visiting hours, collection or delivery routines, sight rules, mutual parenting rules, communication guidelines, and everything you see necessary. 

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