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Tips for maintaining a healthy child custody arrangement

Maintaining child custody agreements after a divorce can be challenging for parents, particularly if they don't get along. However, since studies have found that shared custody is usually best for the children, parents owe it to their children to put aside their feelings toward one another and commit to a positive shared custody situation.

This can begin while you're working out the custody agreement. It's important to seek custody arrangements that take into consideration your children's ages, personalities, activities and needs. If they are mature enough, let them have a say in the arrangement. This can help them feel some sense of control over their lives.

Consider your own commitments and schedule. Too many parents seek more custody than they can handle because they're afraid of losing touch with their children or perhaps because they want exactly what their spouse is getting. Determine what you can actually commit to. You don't want to let your child down because you aren't able to fulfill your commitments.

Find a communication method and an organizational tool that will minimize confusion and mix-ups. The website OurFamilyWizard.com offers a good way for both parents to track schedules, appointments and visits.

Don't use the time with your children to vent about your ex. Children can take criticism of their other parent as a reflection on them. It can also be harmful to hear negative things about someone they love. Remember that custody time is about the children -- not you.

Choose your battles. There will always be differences in parenting styles and activities as well as conflicts regarding holidays, vacations and special occasions. Fight for what is truly worth it and let the rest go. Sometimes people feel that because their husband or wife was a poor spouse, they couldn't possibly be a good parent. Therefore, they challenge just about everything that person does. Unless a child is in emotional or physical danger, let your ex-spouse be a parent as well.

As your children get older and as other circumstances change, you and your spouse will likely need to make changes to your custody agreement. As with all custody decisions and communication, the more civil you can be while handling those, the better off your children will be. Your New York family law attorney can help you work toward what you need and what is best for your children both during and after your divorce.

Source: parents.com, "9 Rules to Make Joint Child Custody Work," Kate Bayless, accessed May. 15, 2015

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