Divorce can usher in a lot of changes for you and your ex-partner. Simultaneously, it can change life as your children know it. Depending on the terms of your child custody agreement, you and your ex may have to raise your children in two separate homes. This situation is bound to create some challenges for your family.
But there’s no need to worry. With care and consideration, you can make the post-divorce transition as comfortable for your children as you can.
Here are a few tips for you:
Talk to your children about what might be the repercussions of the child custody agreement
You need to keep your kids prepared and ready for any eventuality during divorce proceedings. Tell them what scenarios may play out after the Singapore Court has passed the judgement. For example, discuss the possibility of living in two homes instead of one and what that might entail. Doing so can help your children cope with the massive changes that will occur when they have to adjust to two homes after the divorce.
Create a dedicated schedule outlining which parent is responsible for which responsibility
Children of divorce find it easier to cope with the changes if they have a routine they can rely on. This routine typically relates to who cooks the meals for them, drops them to school & picks them up to take home, attends recitals/games, etc.
It’s best if you and your ex create a strict schedule that outlines each activity that both of you are responsible for. Sticking to this routine is necessary to give your child that feeling of comfort they require to regain peace of mind. Also, if one of you can’t complete their responsibility for the day, it’s important to keep children informed about what to expect.
Create a holiday list in advance
Many couples share child custody during holidays and special occasions. Just as with the day-to-day schedule, it’s important to have a clear-cut holiday custody designation too. When everyone knows where the children will be during each holiday, there is lesser conflict, and it’s more calming for the little ones.
Be clear about the rules of each household and ask your children to honour them
Living in two households means your children are be exposed to two different sets of rules. Therefore, it’s necessary to enforce in your kids the importance of following the rules of each household. This will ensure that your child receives a disciplined upbringing that can do them good in the long run. Additionally, it will reduce any conflict between all the family members and prevent upsetting the delicate balance you’ve created.
A great way to get your kids to respect your rules at home is to involve them in the process of framing the rules. Ask them what they may want and find ways to incorporate their needs into the rules of your household.
Keep the lines of communication & feedback open
Once your joint child custody is implemented, your child will be able to tell you about what’s working and what’s not. One of the best ways to help your kids adjust to two homes is to show them that their opinions are valued. So, listen to their feedback and try to make living in both houses more enjoyable.
One way to do this is to give each child their own space in each home. Allow them to decorate their space the way they want to. Give them treats for following the rules of the house. Positively encourage good behaviour. You could even have a special ritual that’s just reserved for you and your child when he/she comes to your house to stay.
Don’t try to force your child to switch homes when they don’t want to
There may come a time when your child may resist living in two homes. They may want to stay with you all the time or with your partner. If it is the former situation, discuss the importance of spending time with the other parent with your kid. If it is the latter situation, don’t feel too bad and don’t take it personally. What your child feels in this joint custody agreement is not a reflection of how much they love you or your ex. Instead, it is a representation of your child’s discomfort and fear of being introduced to a new way of life.
If you experience any pushback from your child to move between homes, don’t force them to do anything. Instead, you can try to increase parental visits during non-parental times. These short meetings can help your child get acquainted with the idea of spending time with each parent individually and may make them more likely to adjust to two homes.
Seek legal help if the other party fails to meet their child custody responsibilities
Finally, your children may be doing everything possible to make this joint child custody agreement work. But if your ex is not fulfilling their responsibility, you can seek legal help. At Gloria James-Civetta & Co, we are a reputed divorce law firm, and our Singapore divorce lawyers can help you if you are facing a child custody battle. We can represent you and help you achieve an outcome that is the best for you and your children.
“At Gloria James-Civetta & Co, our goal is to help you find a resolution that works for both you and your family. When you contact our matrimonial law team, we will provide you with a consultation, tailored to your specific circumstances and goals in mind.”