Whether you and your former spouse cooperated to reach a balance of parental responsibility during your divorce or a court recently issued a joint child custody order, you may not have felt the burden of this arrangement more painfully than now as the holidays approach. However, even during the ordinary days of the year, sharing parenting time can be stressful and frustrating as you and your parenting partner adjust to the changes in your life.
You may be able to take comfort in the studies that show how much children of divorced parents benefit when they have as much access to both parents as possible. To make the most of those benefits, you may have to work hard to see past your own emotions and build a respectful working relationship with your former spouse.
Silence is golden
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do is to keep your opinions about your ex to yourself when the children are around. Children have a unique way of internalizing the negative comments parents make about each other, and parents may not realize the deep and long-term effects they have when they express their negative feelings about the other parent.
This includes arguing with your ex about custody issues. It may require giving in on the small things to maintain a positive relationship for the sake of the children. This may also give you more leverage when big issues are at stake.
Options for keeping the peace
Making custody plans based on emotions or spite can only backfire on the children. Instead, some child advocates recommend seeing your parenting plan as a business arrangement. This may help you to remain reasonable and flexible. The ones who suffer or benefit from your relationship with your ex-spouse are the children, and it is important to avoid seeing the allocation of parental responsibility as a competition with your ex.
Of course, as your children grow and your lives change, you may find it necessary to revisit and revise your current plan. In fact, your children may request changes at some point. Again, this does not have to be a battle. There are countless options for making a parenting schedule work for the good of the children.
Even as you put your energy into making the most positive custody arrangements possible, you may face disputes or legal issues that complicate your efforts. At any time, you can seek the counsel and guidance of an Illinois family law professional to ensure your parental rights are protected.