For most families going through a divorce in New Jersey, joint custody is in the best interests of their children. However, this can be difficult to coordinate with an ex. Parents will make a joint custody arrangement more challenging by not choosing their battles and by refusing to be flexible when unexpected events arise. Conversely, parents can make sharing custody easier by adhering to a few general rules.

First and foremost, parents need to keep in mind that the goal of co-parenting is to do what is best for the children; it is not about satisfying a parent’s ego. Parents should repeat this principle to themselves whenever they feel an urge to refuse a reasonable request for an adjustment to the custody schedule. Keeping the children in mind also means being realistic about one’s schedule and not agreeing to more custody time just to spite the other parent.

While it is fine and sometimes healthy to vent about an ex-spouse to a friend or therapist, parents should never speak poorly of their ex to their children. Kids love and identify with both of their parents, and saying negative things about one of them can confuse and upset the children.

Parents should find an effective way to communicate with each other about scheduling as well as providing updates regarding their children, such as issues that come up at school or if one of the kids gets sick. Exes should also revisit their custody schedule periodically and be willing to adjust it if it would be better for the kids. An example would be changing the schedule to account for a new after-school activity. A family law attorney can help parents set up a child custody schedule and make later revisions as the child gets older and develops.