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Rules to make joint child custody work

The most important decision a couple can make when ending their relationship is to manage their emotions. Studies have shown that shared child custody situations in California tend to work best when both parents are cooperative and respectful of each other. Children who witness these qualities often adjust easier.

Experts agree that children will internalize negative comments made about the other parent, and this may cause them to think badly about themselves. Emotional tunnel vision is common with divorce, so it is important to remain focused on the goal of creating a loving environment for the child. He or she will experience many changes, so it is important to put their well-being first.

Mental health practitioners recommend a 2-2-3 plan for younger children. This means two days with Mom, two with Dad and finally three with Mom. The next week, the schedule flips. As the child ages and matures, a parent can formulate a visitation plan that will work better with school obligations, social commitments and extracurricular activities. It is important to review the agreement occasionally to see how it is working and adjust it if necessary to meet the children's needs. 

Because someone is a bad spouse does not mean he or she is a bad parent. Bad or good, the child needs both parents' love. Child experts urge parents to try to prevent conflict if possible and maintain an open line of communication. In California, child custody co-parenting can succeed by putting the child's needs first. If one parent cannot agree, then it may be helpful to contact a professional child custody attorney who will assist them in what is in the best interest of the child.

Source:, "9 Rules to Make Joint Child Custody Work", Kate Bayliss, Accessed on Sept. 24, 2017

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