As time goes on, the laws change, trends change and the shared custody movement is no different. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. Shared residential custody has come along way with the New Jersey Family Courts. Some people agree with the approach, others do not. Some therapists agree with it, some do not but either way here are my tips as to how to make shared parenting a reality with your ex. As a family law attorney in a high density area, I have mixed feelings on it. Feelings aside, here are my tips:
- Live in close proximity to each other. No, you do not need to live next door but you should try to live within the same school district. This will make it easy for attending school events, picking up the kids, being there for emergencies if one parent cannot, being close to the child’s doctor, etc. Living close to each other makes it easier to work together.
- Make a parenting schedule or go to court to work out as many details as possible. The more detailed the plan is the lesser the chance that confusion can be used as an excuse not to comply and or less of a reason to make a mistake with the scheduling. Plan the holidays, the long weekends, vacations, who will do the pick ups, where will the pick ups be, etc.
- Family Wizard. For now, the app Family Wizard is a great way to schedule and communicate with the other parent without getting into nasty disputes or even simple disagreements about time/pickups/holiday schedules, etc. The yearly parenting time calendar goes into the wizard and you will be amazed how much easier it is then contact your ex all the time.
- Have a place in the home/apartment that makes your child feel that each home is his or her home and that the child is not just visiting. Go that extra mile for the child and the child will be excited at both homes.
- Take the child to his or her activities. Consistency is the key. Your child should not miss baseball games, football, etc because you want to do something else. If your child commits to a sport/activity, have your child there every time. The consistency of being there and/or being part of a team is in the best interests of a child. When he or she begins to miss, the coach or leader will not give your child the same chance and why would he or she if the other kids are fully committed?
I am a family law attorney and I have children. I realize every case is different but in the end it is up to you as to how much you are willing to be civil, agree, work things out for the kids. I am here to help you achieve your goals in court that affect your everyday life. If you have a family law case in New Jersey, call my Jersey City office on 973-337-9643.