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Establishing Joint Custody Routines to Ease Split-Family Tensions

Posted on in Divorce

joint custody routinesRecently, Fox News Magazine revisited the question, "do 50 percent of marriages really end in divorce?" Unfortunately, the answer is still a resounding yes. Not only does this startling statistic involve the couple, but as numerous studies support, divorce often has a life-long effect on the children struggling with the breakdown of the family.

So how can both parents work together to ease the child’s anxiety during this transition? If you and your separating spouse have been discussing joint custody with your respective divorce attorneys, there are ways to establish a successful "kid shuttle" plan.

DK Simoneau, speaker and award winning author of the children’s book, "We’re Having a Tuesday," offers several ways of assisting a child cope with a split-family lifestyle. As a divorced mother of two, Simoneau has become a strong advocate of making the hectic split-family syndrome less hectic. The following are just a few of her suggestions:

Develop a Routine

During the transition, establish a special tradition each time your child returns to home base. Children require routines, and by knowing what to expect as they "bounce" between two homes, can ease situational tension.

Designate a Transition Object

If your child has a favorite teddy or blanket, ensure the security object travels with the child to and from both home locations. If your child is past the teddy stage, Simoneau suggests choosing two rocks. Each rock can be the transition object representative of each parent and can be easily concealed in a backpack or pocket to provide a secure reminder of the absent parent.

Stay in Touch

Ensure that the absent parent can contact the child at any time. A quick phone call or email can brighten a child’s day as well as reinforce the love of both parents even though the family is no longer housed under the same roof.

Establish Similar Routines

It is a fact that children come to learn how to play both sides of the fence. To thwart this practice, work with your ex-spouse to establish similar routines for both home locations. For example, bedtime, dinner, television and gaming privileges should similarly follow the same routine.

Create A Checklist

Evidently, Simoneau believes strongly in establishing routines. By doing so, the child knows exactly what to expect. To avoid the hassle of retrieving forgotten items at either home location, Simoneau suggests the development of a checklist. By adhering to this form, the chances of forgetting homework or a favorite stuffed toy are low, decreasing the level of frustration for everyone.

Divorce is inevitably difficult for all family members. As adults and children adjust to the trials and tribulations of joint custody, instituting procedures and systems may ease the child’s anxiety as they adjust to the transition.

The Arlington Heights family law attorneys of A. Traub & Associates understands the challenges families face during the divorce process. Serving as a strong legal advocate, through mediation we can help you and your partner establish a sound joint custody agreement, ensuring a frustration free transition. For more information on our family law services, contact our Arlington Heights office at 630-426-0196 to schedule your consultation today.
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