Making 50:50 Custody Work
If divorce is on the horizon and you are worried about your chances of having joint physical custody of your children, you should know that under Missouri law there is every possibility for both parents to be greatly involved with the children post-divorce. The days where mothers are automatically given total custody are long gone. Instead, 50:50 custody is possible, and very suitable in many cases. In Missouri there are two types of custody: physical and legal. There is no reason divorced parents can’t share the whole shebang– but making it work will require some thoughtful cooperation and lots of flexibility while developing a parenting plan that works. Here are some tips to help make the 50:50 successful:
1- Live near one another—preferably in the same neighborhood so the kids can get to school with little effort regardless of where they’re staying. When that isn’t possible, you don’t want to live much more than 20 minutes apart in the best scenario.
2- Create a procedure to organize the kids’ physical possessions. They’re not going to do very well at soccer practice if their cleats are at the other house when they need it, and grades will be in trouble when completed projects are left on the kitchen table in the wrong kitchen.
3- Regularly communicate about expectations, goals, schedules, and needs.
4- Be flexible. If a child needs to get to band practice and one parent can’t take the time off of work even though it’s their custodial time, make a switch if possible. If an illness means someone needs to stay home with a sick kid, adjust your schedule if necessary.
5- Share the cost of daily expenses, including fees associated with extra-curricular clubs and so forth, costs kids incur while hanging out with friends, and other similar expenses.
6- Ensure that both homes have a comfortable place for the kids. If they’re going to be there half the time, they’ll require a dedicated space that’s theirs, with their own beds.
7- Reevaluate the details of the arrangement all the time to see if little fine-tunes could make things smoother.
8- Be sure to document any issues that arise and how they are handled, especially if your ex is unhappy with the arrangement.
9- Provide a healthy, clean environment in which to live, so kids are safe and they have a place to keep their things organized.
10- When your co-parent has a concern, actually listen and work together toward an equitable solution.
11- Be involved in school PTA conferences, medical appointments, and other important events. Have the kids invite friends over so you get to know them. Do what it takes to show your kids that you are there for them, rain or shine.
We Can Help
At Courtney & Mills our experienced Springfield family law attorneys are here to help you through your divorce with an eye toward developing a healthy parenting plan that works for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.