Divorce, no matter how amicable, is never easy. And when children are involved, getting custody is a primary concern for the divorcing parents. But with 40% of the US states aiming to give children equal time with each parent, you are more likely to end up with joint custody. This decision often rests on the fact that the well-being of children comes first. That’s why, as a leading child custody lawyer in Utah, we see most parents and courts going for joint custody.
However, joint custody also means, you will still have a relationship with your ex. And even if you have had a non-contested divorce, working with your ex isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But you will need to make your co-parenting a success because your child’s future is at stake here. That’s where these co-parenting tips can come in.
But first, let’s understand what joint custody in Utah is and how it works.
What Is Joint Custody in Utah?
In Utah, joint custody means both parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after a divorce or separation. Like most states, Utah also encourages the involvement of both parents in their children’s lives. As a Utah child custody lawyer, we have seen this arrangement work for most parents.
But under Utah law, there are two types of joint custody:
1. Joint Legal Custody: This means both parents have an equal right and responsibility to make decisions about their children’s upbringing. It usually includes decisions about education, healthcare, religion, and other significant aspects of your children’s lives. As an experienced child custody attorney, we have seen courts award joint legal custody even if physical custody rests with one parent.
2. Joint Physical Custody: The children spend significant time with both parents in this arrangement. But it doesn’t mean that the children spend an equal amount of time with each parent. The court will consider different factors, including the best interests of your children, when determining the details of your joint physical custody. It’s best to speak with your child custody attorney first.
What Is Co-Parenting?
You have to come up with a co-parenting schedule when you get joint custody. In a co-parenting arrangement, you and your ex will have to work together to create a supportive and stable environment for your children. The primary goal of this arrangement is to maintain consistency and continuity in your children’s lives. Naturally, it’s not going to be easy. But you will have to put your differences aside and focus on the well-being of your kids.
X Tips for Successful Co-Parenting
As mentioned earlier, co-parenting is not easy. But there are a few ways to make it work and provide your children with the stable and nourishing environment they deserve. Here’s what we, as expert child custody lawyer in Utah, recommend you should do for successful co-parenting.
1. Keep Your Children Front and Center
Always keep your children’s best interests at the forefront of your co-parenting efforts. Consider how each of your decision will affect your kids. Learn to prioritize their needs above your personal resentments and anger. You must work as a team to create a positive and nurturing environment for your kids.
2. Set Your Anger and Resentment Aside
If you don’t lose all of your resentment or bitterness about your divorce, you will end up putting your children in the middle. It is okay to feel resentment, anger, and hurt. But you don’t have to take it out on your children.
Don’t let your anger and hurt dictate your role as a co-parent. So, put your negative feelings aside and work with your ex as a team. Instead of venting to your children, you can try therapy or counseling. You can talk to your friends or family to vent your feelings. Even a pet can help you vent and heal over time.
3. Encourage Your Children’s Relationship with Your Ex
Another important fact we recommend as Utah child custody lawyers is to never speak negatively about your ex-spouse in front of your children. It can have more detrimental effects on their upbringing than you can imagine.
For starters, your kids will start resenting your ex. It can create a lot of confusion and stress, which will affect their relationship with both parents. Instead, encourage your children to foster a healthy relationship with the other parent. Work as a team and help your kids maintain a strong bond with both of you.
4. Maintain Open and Respectful Communication
Open and respectful communication is the backbone of successful co-parenting. Keep each other informed about important matters, especially about your children. Talk to each other about school events, medical appointments, and changes in your co-parenting schedule.
- Keep your communication cordial, respectful, and neutral – just like you would talk to a colleague or business partner.
- Always listen and respond. Don’t be hostile. Show restraint if the other parent is being difficult or unreasonable.
- Keep your communication kids-focused. Never talk about your relationship, especially in front of your children.
- Talk to each other consistently. Frequent and proactive communication can help smooth things over and provide your children with a much needed relief.
5. Create and Maintain a Routine
Your children need a consistent and structured routine in both households. It is necessary to ensure stability for your kids and reduce their stress and confusion. Talk to each other about your children’s daily routines, including homework, playtime, screen time, sleep, meals, and other activities. Make sure your children have the same routines – no matter where they are, with you or your ex.
6. Attend Important Events Together If Possible
As a child custody lawyer in Utah, we also urge divorced parents to attend important events in their children’s lives together. This simple step can go a long way in showing your kids that both of you love and support them as a team. It can also make your kids more comfortable when both of you are together.
Whether a soccer game or a bring your parent to school day, try to attend such events together if possible. However, never show your resentment or anger when you are together. You can chalk out the details to avoid any conflicts or miscommunication.
7. Be Accommodating
Yes, you will have a co-parenting schedule. But it may not always be possible to stick to it, especially if both parents have jobs or different work routines. That’s why co-parenting requires flexibility and cooperation. Be flexible if unexpected circumstances or emergency forces the other parent to change your schedule.
If the changes look long-term, talk to each other to find a suitable solution. You can even get your Utah child custody lawyers involved to help you figure out a new co-parenting schedule. Avoid conflict as far as possible. After all, it is in the best interest of your kids.
8. Seek Professional Help If Needed
Even if you are ready, co-parenting can still be overwhelming. You may end up having conflicts with the other parent or get the best of your anger and resentment. Or sometimes, both of you may fail to work as a team. Whatever the reasons may be, you need to find a solution as soon as possible.
The best way is to talk to a therapist or a counselor. A neutral third party can provide you with the objectivity and perspective you need. In other words, seek professional help whenever you feel its need.
Getting joint child custody is only half the battle won. Your real challenge begins with co-parenting. Putting your anger and resentment aside, you will need to work with the other parent to create a stable and supportive environment for your kids. It may not seem easy at first, but with these co-parenting tips, you can surely succeed. And should you face any difficulties, you can always seek professional help.
As a leading child custody lawyer in Utah, we can help you fight your custody battles. Our experienced lawyers will help you get a favorable custody arrangement. Call (801) 682-5234 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.