How do you reduce conflict in the early stages of shared custody?

When you and your ex first separate, your relationship will significantly deteriorate in a short amount of time. Both of you may struggle with intense negative emotions and may desire the catharsis of a personal confrontation.

All too often, sharing custody of your children will be what forces that conflict to come to a head. When you see each other at custody exchanges or have to discuss sudden changes to your schedule, what could be a simple conversation will devolve into a big argument. Unfortunately, disagreements during custody exchanges often feature your children as witnesses. They will see and hear everything or at least witness the aftermath of the confrontation.

Psychological research has shown that the more children know about and are involved in the conflict between their parents during divorce, the harder things become for them. You and your ex can make divorce less painful and damaging for your children by trying to shield them from the conflicts between the two of you. How can you reduce the disagreements you keep having?

Consider using a parenting app

During the early stages of shared custody, you will have some adjustments to make, and you may have to fine-tune your plans so that they are workable. You will have to frequently communicate while adjusting your arrangements.

A parenting app helps by keeping all of the information about your shared parental responsibilities in one location. It also provides a record of your communication. If you have to send what you want to say in writing and know there will be a record of it, you’ll be less likely to escalate the situation.

Rely on a third party as a buffer

Do you have a family member or friend whose driveway can serve as the meeting place for your custody exchange? Is there a public place between your homes where you can meet? When you have another person present or are in public, you are less likely to get into an argument during the exchange.

 Agree to keep everything focused on the kids

You and your ex may have a lot you want to say to one another, but custody exchanges are not the time. The only thing you should discuss when you meet up to exchange the children should be what happened during your parenting time and any other important information about the time.

Ideally, you will keep verbal communication to a minimum until you have moved past the most emotional stages of the divorce. If you keep your focus on minimizing conflict and protecting the children, you and your ex may have an easier time cooperating as you learn how to balance the challenges of shared parental responsibilities.

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