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Tips for parents with joint custody post-divorce

Often divorce comes with child custody disputes. In the end, a lot of divorced parents in Colorado end up with joint child custody arrangements. In this situation, it can feel strange for parents to have their kids gone much of the time. But there are ways to make it easier on the parents and the kids. Here's what some parents do.

• Set boundaries early. The children should feel at home just as you do. But this means that they should also know what to expect. Parents who are going to play by specific rules should set this out early. Kids often strive if they have a structure and know what to expect when they are at home.

• Create traditions the kids can enjoy. It can help if there are things kids can look forward to at a parent's house. Allowing them to watch their favorite TV show when they are over, for example, is a way to make them feel more at home.

• Make the most of phone calls. Speaking with a child on the phone (or even talking to them on Skype) may seem like a poor substitute for catching up with them in person. But making the most of these "visits" can be beneficial for both the parent and the child. It may help to call on a certain day of the week, even if it is a short conversation.

• Allow kids to keep necessary supplies at both homes. A child is less likely to feel like they are living out of a suitcase if they don't have to cart around toiletries and clothes between each visit.

• Let children keep picture and mementos involving the other parent. It's silly to pretend they don't care about the other parent. Likewise, perhaps the child can keep your picture at the other parent's home.

Not every single one of these scenarios will help ease the challenges that come with joint child custody, but each one is worth a try.

Source: Huffington Post, "Sharing custody of my child: What do I do?" Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, June 11, 2012

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