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Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

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Going from seeing your children every day at home to having to follow a child custody schedule can be a difficult transition. Whether you are the custodial parent who feels you lose out on fun, weekend time with your kids or you are the non-custodial parent who never feels like it is enough, there is going to be a tough adjustment period. Co-parenting can be difficult, but it also does not have to be a constant struggle. There are ways to make co-parenting work while you strengthen your relationship with your kids.

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

There are many steps you can take to make a custody schedule run smoothly, including the following:

  • Follow the court order. It does not matter if you do not like the current custody arrangement; you must follow the court order. If you believe you should have more time with your children, speak with an experienced child custody attorney about returning to court for a modification.
  • Be punctual. Even if you were the type of person to always run late in the past, now is the time to buy a great watch and learn to be early. One of the best ways to improve your co-parenting relationship is to strictly follow the schedule and always be on time for a pick up or drop off.
  • Make adjustments far in advance. If you know you need to adjust the custody schedule for an appointment, work event, or other matter, then reach out to your co-parent as soon as possible. The more notice you give about the change, the better. Last minute adjustments should be left for emergencies. Also, be receptive when your child’s other parent needs to make adjustments too.
  • Adjust your schedule, not your child’s. Both you and the other parent have to be ready to change your schedules, not your child’s routine. Particularly with younger kids, it is best to keep as much of their lives the same as possible.
  • Keep in contact on your off days. Neither of you will have your kids every day, yet you both should be able to keep in contact with your kids while they stay at the other parent’s home. If your children are teenagers with their own phones, keeping in touch on your off days is easy. If your children are younger or do not have cell phones, try and establish a routine for when you call.
  • Use your time with your children to improve your relationship. Do not take your time with your children for granted. The time you have with your kids should be used to strengthen your relationship. This may include taking trips together or planning fun outings, but it also includes being involved in their school and extracurricular activities.
  • Think twice before introducing new adults. You and your co-parent may both have moved on to new relationships. You should both think twice before introducing these partners to your children. Your kids need time to adjust to the current schedule, especially if it came after a divorce.
  • Do not pump your child for information. It can be tempting to ask your child questions about their other parent’s routines, actions, and relationships. However, do not put your children between you and their other parent. You should never try to get information out of your child, which can make them uncomfortable and can damage the relationship with you and their other parent.

Do You Have Questions About Child Custody?

If you need to solidify a child custody arrangement or want to try and gain more time with your kids, contact the experienced Leesburg child custody attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982. We are eager to help you today.

Resource:

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title20/chapter6.1/section20-124.3/

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