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Make your child comfortable in your home post-divorce

With the divorce process in the past, you can finally look toward the future. If you're living in a new home, it's your responsibility to help your child become acclimated. This holds true if you're the custodial or noncustodial parent.

Here are some steps you can take to make your child comfortable in your home after divorce:

  • Make them a part of the process: For example, let your child pick out their bedroom. Not only does this get them excited about the home, but it will also comfort them during this difficult transition.
  • Don't compete: Resist the urge to "one up" your ex. It's okay if they have a bigger house, more toys or better technology. You can only control your relationship with your child, so focus your time and energy on this. Competing is a battle with yourself that you can't win.
  • Ask them what they want to do: Your child may feel uncomfortable in the early days of living in or visiting a new home. You can ease the tension by asking them what they want to do. Maybe they want to have a movie night. Or maybe they want to make dinner with you. Get your child involved early on, as it helps them acclimate to the home.

Options for modifying a child custody agreement

There is more than one way to modify a child custody agreement, so if you find yourself in this position, it's critical to take the necessary steps at the appropriate time.

Here are the three options for you to consider:

  • Modification by agreement: With this, you and your ex-spouse are able to work together to create an agreement that suits the both of you. While it requires court approval, it's often the most efficient way to modify your agreement.
  • Modification by hearing: If you're unable to reach an agreement with your ex, the court that issued your original order will step in.
  • Mediation: If you can't work together outside of court to reach an agreement, you're likely to be sent to mediation. This gives you and your ex the opportunity to work with a mediator to find an acceptable resolution. While a mediator doesn't have the legal power of a judge, this person can help move the process along.

Details to include in a visitation schedule agreement

When moving through the divorce process, the creation of a visitation schedule agreement is among the most important details.

It doesn't matter if you're the custodial or noncustodial parent, this agreement clearly defines your legal rights.

Child custody and the holidays: Start planning now

With Halloween on the horizon, the holiday season is almost in full swing. If you have concerns about child custody and visitation rights over the next few months, it's critical to address these as soon as possible.

Here are three things you can do to help your situation as the planning process begins:

  • Talk with your ex about your plans: For example, if you're hoping to take your children trick or treating, discuss it in advance. This gives you enough time to work through any conflicts.
  • Spend time together as a family: If possible, it may make sense for you, your ex and your children to spend some or all of the holidays together. Even if you don't spend all day every day in the same house, partaking in activities as a family, such as trick or treating, is an idea to consider.
  • Review your parenting agreement and visitation schedule: Many parenting agreements outline where your children will spend holidays and other special occasions. For example, you may get your children on even-numbered years, while your ex gets them on odd-numbered years. Knowing what your parenting agreement says will help you make informed decisions.

Co-parenting and handling a hostile ex-spouse

If you have children with your ex-spouse, there is a good chance your post-divorce life will entail some form of communication. This is necessary in order to provide your children with the stability they need (and deserve).

Unfortunately, if your ex-spouse is acting hostile, it can complicate the situation. If you find yourself in this position, here are three things to do:

  • Decide on the best way to communicate: For example, if you find that your ex always becomes hostile when you talk in person, decide to communicate via phone, text and email in the future. This may be just what you need to reduce tension.
  • Don't talk about your personal life: There's no reason to share details of your personal life with your spouse. Doing so, such as sharing that you have a new partner, may only make them more upset and angrier.
  • Don't involve your children: Co-parenting is all about providing your children with a stable environment. Raising children with a hostile ex is a challenge, but you shouldn't let this lead to a situation in which your children are put in the middle. This can negatively affect them for the rest of their lives.

Visitation after divorce: Don't make these mistakes

There is no denying the many benefits of visitation after divorce. This allows the noncustodial parent to spend time with their children, which is healthy and beneficial for all parties involved.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of mistakes lurking around every corner. If you make one or more of these, it's likely that you'll run into trouble at some point.

  • Refusing to communicate: You don't have to communicate with your ex-spouse as if you are still married, but it's important to do so when necessary. If you're unable to efficiently communicate in person or over the phone, do so via text or email.
  • Don't get in the way of your children's relationship with your ex: Don't make your children feel guilty about spending time with them. Don't ask your children who they like better. Don't tell your children they're punishing you by spending time with their other parent.
  • Letting anger guide your actions: No matter how upset you are about how your marriage ended, you can't let your anger get in the way of how you raise your children. Doing so makes life more difficult on both you and your ex, while also putting your children in an awkward position.

Joint or sole legal custody: What's the difference?

Divorcing your spouse will alter your life in many ways. The same holds true for your children, as they'll no longer live under the same roof as both parents.

With so many types of child custody arrangements, it's often a challenge to understand what's best for you and your children.

Back-to-school child custody tips

With summer vacation in the past, your children are now back in school for the foreseeable future. While this may free up some time in your day, it can also lead to a variety of child custody related issues.

Here are four back to school child custody tips you can follow to avoid disagreements with your ex-spouse:

  • Follow your parenting agreement: You can turn to this agreement for a schedule outlining what happens during the school year. For example, you may be responsible for picking your child up from school on certain days of the week.
  • Be flexible with visitation schedules: When school starts back up, your children will have more activities. Subsequently, it's more difficult to stay on track in regards to visitation schedules. Both parents should remain flexible.
  • Stay in touch: This doesn't mean you have to talk to your ex-spouse every day, but you should have an open line of communication between the two of you. This can include but is not limited to face-to-face conversations, phone calls, text messaging and email.
  • Plan as far ahead as possible: It's not always easy to do, but talk to your ex about any potential roadblocks over the next few months. Dealing with these in advance can help prevent an argument in the future.

How to make the most of supervised visitation

Supervised visitation isn't the ideal situation after divorce, but it still allows you to spend valuable time with your children.

With the right approach, you'll find both you and your children having an enjoyable time. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Plan in advance: Think about the activities you can partake in during your visit. These may be limited, as the result of the supervision, but that doesn't mean you have to simply sit and talk. You can read a book together, play a board game, or make a craft.
  • Don't just do, talk: It's okay to have activities planned, but there's nothing wrong with a good conversation. This allows you to connect with your children on a deeper level. Try to do both during your visits.
  • Ask questions about their life: How is school going? Are you signing up for any sports this year? How have your friends been? Do you have anything special planned for the upcoming school year? These questions will help break the ice, while also allowing you to learn more about what's going on in their life.

How to ease the strain of divorce on your children

Divorce will impact everyone involved, including your children. Since it's your responsibility to keep them safe and stable, it's critical to learn more about the many ways you can ease the strain of divorce.

Here are three steps you can take:

  • Answer their questions. If your child has a question, it's imperative to provide a truthful answer. Ignoring them or lying will only make things more difficult in the future. But there is a limit to the information that you need to share with them, so keep it age-appropriate.
  • Put your children first. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse takes the same approach during the divorce process, you're positioning your children to establish a "new normal." Also, never put your children in the middle of your negotiations with your ex. For example, don't ask your children which parent they like better or tell them bad things about their other parent.
  • Stay in tune with their feelings: Don't make the mistake of having one single discussion about the divorce and never addressing it again. They are sure to have questions before, during and after the divorce is complete. By staying in tune with their feelings, you can provide the necessary support at all times.
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