Trying to share custody with your ex is going to strain an already difficult relationship. You might disagree about how to discipline the kids, what the best way to split up special days might be or even about whether they’re ready to participate in school sports.
When you disagree on an issue, particularly if you shared decision-making authority, you will need to find a way to resolve the matter. Planning ahead to work through inevitable co-parenting disagreements will be good for your entire family.
Recognize when you become confrontational or emotional
The most important thing that you can do is to commit yourself to taking a step back when you realize that your emotions have started to determine your behavior.
Recognizing when you or your ex have strong emotions during a discussion should be a sign that it’s time to switch from direct communication to written communication. You may even want to use a parenting app during moments of conflict so that you remember to be on your best behavior.
Be willing to wait to address the biggest issues
Most parenting decisions aren’t emergency situations that you have to handle immediately. You can give yourself a day to cool off before resuming discussions, allowing you to better think out your positions and consider various ways you could compromise.
Defer to your parenting plan, but prioritize flexibility
Your parenting plan has instructions on everything from when you exchange custody to how you divide the holidays. If something comes up, you should both be willing to work with one another to make changes on a case-by-case basis.
If you reach a point where it is clear that the original terms no longer work for your family, it may be time to consider modifying your parenting plan so that it better reflects the reality of your shared parenting arrangements. An updated plan will require fewer negotiations and I’ll help minimize conflicts.
Thinking about what will make shared custody harder and planning ahead to counter those stressors can make the situation easier for your family.