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Going through a divorce is hard enough without the headaches that come with sharing child custody. Parents are often reluctant to interact with their ex-spouses, and they may even be inclined to make schedule changes just to spite each other. Colorado parents should bear in mind that their children come first when it comes to joint custody and let that principle guide them in their decision making.

Putting children first also means that parents should refrain from bad-mouthing their exes to their child since this can cause emotional distress. Rather than doing the venting, parents should encourage their kids to open up about how they feel about the divorce, and they should be patient and understanding listeners.

It is also important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all child custody schedule. Schedules should be created, and later revised, based on the needs of the children and the realities of the parents’ schedules. Younger children fare better with a schedule that allows them to see each of their parents regularly, like a 2-2-3 or a 3-4-4-3 schedule. These schedules divide custody 50-50 and have the children switch homes every two to four nights depending on which of the two schedules is utilized.

Parents who share custody need to find a way to communicate effectively about their children and about the custody schedule. Ideally, parents should try to accommodate emergencies, like last-minute work trips, for each other. If speaking on the phone is too hard, parents can try texting or emailing.

Though someone may have been a bad spouse, that does not necessarily mean the person will be a bad parent, and individuals going through a divorce should try to keep that in mind. However, if a parent is making co-parenting unreasonably difficult, such as frequently failing to abide by the custody schedule, a family law attorney may be able to help.