Sharing Legal Custody: Tips for Dealing with Disputes

After a divorce, children will primarily reside with one parent, even if both parents share custody. There are actually two different types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the kids maintain residency and legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions for the kids’ upbringing. If you share legal custody with your ex, you can speak with your child custody attorney in Owings Mills about strategies of successfully co-parenting. Child Custody Attorney in Owings Mills, MD

Go to Mediation

The most effective way to deal with legal custody disputes is to prevent them from occurring. However, even if a dispute has already occurred, child custody mediation can help. You and the other parent will sit down with a neutral mediator, who will help you work toward a mutually agreeable solution that is in the best interests of the children. Mediators can facilitate discussions regarding the children’s religious upbringing, education, and healthcare, among other decisions.

Keep Each Other in the Loop

After the divorce, you may wish to avoid your ex completely, but this simply isn’t possible when you share children with him or her. Parents can reduce the possibility of a dispute by agreeing on communication methods and frequency in advance, and by agreeing to keep each other in the loop when something comes up. For example, if you receive updates from the school about soccer games, school pictures, or progress reports, you should promptly send the other parent a copy of the notice. Similarly, the other parent should let you know promptly if a child fell ill during visitation and needs to take antibiotics. For other types of medical treatment, such as administering psychiatric drugs, the permission of both parents is required.

Set Aside Emotions

When a dispute does arise, it’s helpful to spend a few days thinking about the matter before wasting more time arguing with your ex. This helps you get your emotions in check, think about the issue in a logical way, and develop ideas for compromising with your ex. Remind yourself that your only priority is to promote the best interests of your kids.

Put All Agreements in Writing

Secondary disputes can sometimes arise if one parent “forgets” about the agreement or claims that he or she never agreed at all. Written communication is always best. For instance, if you and your spouse agree to take the kids to different religious centers, sign a written agreement that neither of you will disparage the other religion in front of the kids.