Whether you are getting divorced or separating from your partner with whom you share minor children, it is essential to think carefully about how you will tell your kids about custody and shared parenting. It can be extremely difficult for children of any age to understand the complexities of a relationship ending, and the legal terms through which parental rights and responsibilities are allocated under Ohio law. As such, when you do have the talk with your children, it is important to consider their emotional response, the questions they are likely to have, and what steps you can take to make shared parenting easier on your kids. The following are some tips for talking with your children about shared parenting arrangements.
Talk to Your Children Together with Your Ex if Possible
If you are able to communicate with your ex, and if the two of you are committed to co-parenting for the benefit of your children, it can be extremely helpful to break the news to your children of a breakup or divorce, and what subsequent shared parenting is likely to look like, when you do it together. Your children will be able to see that both of their parents will be in their lives in the future, and that their parents have the ability to work together when it comes to parenting (even if they will no longer be in a relationship with one another).
Emphasize What Will Stay the Same
For many kids, shared parenting is most upsetting or anxiety-inducing because of the changes it brings. According to an article in Parents magazine, it can be extremely useful to start a conversation about co-parenting or shared custody with your kids by emphasizing what will stay the same, or what will not change. For example, maybe your kids will remain in the same school, and perhaps they will keep living in the family home part of the week and in the same neighborhood with the other parent for the remaining days of the week. Or, for example, maybe your kids will stay in the same extracurricular clubs or sports. In addition, you should be sure to tell your children that their relationship with both parents will not change—both parents will continue to provide love and support.
Be Ready to Provide Details About Changes to Routines
While some things might stay the same when parents split up and begin a shared parenting arrangement, some things will, necessarily, change. It is important to have detailed information for your children about the changes they should expect to their routine. For example, if they will have a certain number of weeknights or weekends with each parent, be clear about what that schedule will look like. If your kids will need to change schools, explain why that must happen and what their school experience will involve going forward. You should also consider the questions your children are likely to have, and you should plan to be honest with them in responding to any inquiries.
Contact a Columbus Child Custody Lawyer
If you have any questions about shared parenting in Ohio, our Columbus child custody attorneys are here to help. Contact the Lawrence Law Office for more information.