Each year, more than 630,000 couples in America get divorced. This can be a very difficult time both emotionally and practically. After all, getting divorced requires a lot of logistical planning, especially if you have kids.
More than 1 million American children see their parents divorce each year. So your child isn’t alone in this experience. However, it is still incredibly important to handle this transition carefully.
Organizing a custody schedule as soon as possible will create stability in your children’s life. Are you wondering how to organize a joint custody schedule in your blended family? Then you’re in the right place.
Read on to find out our top tips for creating a co-parenting schedule that works for everyone.
Accept That Co-Parenting Can Be Difficult
The majority of parents don’t set out planning to separate. So this can be a very emotional and uncertain time. It is natural to feel concerned for your children and yourself.
However, getting emotional while putting together a child custody schedule can work against you. Because of this, make sure you have a lot of support around you.
Trusted friends and family members can offer advice and give you room to vent about the process. No one is expecting you to find this easy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Put Your Child’s Needs First in Your Custody Schedule
No matter what has happened during your separation, you should always put your child’s needs first. This can be easier said than done. After all, it usually means that you get to spend less time with your children overall.
That said, your custody schedule is there to support your child’s relationship with both of their parents. So it should serve this. It should also support their individual needs and create stability in their life.
During the process, it is important not to put your child on the spot. You shouldn’t ask them directly what they want. This can be emotionally stressful and might make them feel guilty for picking one parent over the other.
However, you can ask them if they have any worries or concerns following the separation. This lets them share their wants and needs. It will also make them feel like they are being listened to and prioritized.
Look at Different Schedule Options
A 50-50 custody schedule is not your only option when it comes to childcare. In fact, trying to split child custody down the middle can be very difficult.
This gets harder when you factor in your child’s other commitments, such as school and playdates. So you may want to consider different schedule options.
Some parents alternate weeks with their children. Others use a 2-2-3 or 2-2-5 plan. These involve children spending:
- Two days with each parent followed by
- Three days with one parent or five days with one parent
At the end of the week, the schedule flips. So each parent ends up getting seven days with their children every two weeks. However, in this arrangement, you never have to go longer than five days without seeing your child!
Other parents may not have the flexibility to manage this schedule. For example, your work schedule may make it difficult. In that case, you might alternate weekends with your children and have a family dinner once a week.
This really is about finding what works for you and your children. So make sure you prioritize that.
Set Aside Time to Communicate
After a divorce or separation, you might want some time and space from your ex. However, this can mean that the only time you see them is when dropping off or collecting your kids.
This is not a good time to discuss child custody arrangements or anything else. In fact, these discussions should never happen in front of the children.
Instead, set aside a time that works for you both and decide the best way to communicate. That way you can both come to the conversation with your thoughts prepared.
Pick Your Battles
Co-parenting can be very difficult. While parenting, you and your spouse can present a united front to your children. However, after a separation, the dynamic can change a lot.
The emotional fallout of your divorce might mean it is harder to call your ex out on certain behavior. So think carefully before picking up on an issue.
Obviously, you and your ex need to be on the same page about certain issues, such as discipline. However, when it comes to the occasional late night or mistimed dessert, pick your battles. This will save you a lot of energy and can help things run more smoothly with your ex.
If you are concerned about a larger issue, set aside time to talk about this. It can also help to get support from a mediator for these conversations.
Stay Flexible and Review Your Arrangements
Stability is incredibly important for children and can help them feel emotionally secure. So try to create a consistent schedule that you can stick to.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be totally rigid. A little flexibility from time to time won’t disturb your kids too much. And it can help your relationship with your ex.
It is also important to check in on how well your schedule is working for everyone. Try to give it a month or so and then review your arrangements.
If they work, then that’s great! If not, it might be time to go back to the drawing board and adjust them.
Get Help Organizing Your Custody Exchange Schedule
When it comes to putting together a custody schedule, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Instead, the most important thing is to put your children’s needs first. This may be challenging at times and can be very emotional. So make sure you have plenty of support around while you navigate life with your blended family.
2houses is also here to provide practical support. Our calendars make it easy to access your schedule and communicate with your ex. Find out more and start your 14-day trial now!