Child custody cases are usually stressful for the parents because both adults have ideas about what they want to happen, but they usually don’t agree on every point. It is imperative that parents take time to think about what is best for the children. Keeping an open mind about everything related to the situation can make things a bit easier.

When you are trying to work out a child custody plan with your ex, the focus can’t be on what is best for either adult. The sole focus has to be what is going to help your children to have their needs met and how each parent can help them to thrive.

Be firm but flexible

There are some points that you might feel strongly about as you are coming up with the terms of the parenting plan. Be firm about what you feel is best but remember that your ex might have some different ideas about how to make that happen. As you think about the things your ex proposes, be willing to accept that they might have some suggestions that meet those goals.

Find common ground

Work with your ex to find ways that you can show your children mutual support. This includes being able to handle discipline measures as a team when necessary. It might not always be easy, but you can set guidelines in the parenting plan that keep things on track when you have to work as a team. Start this early by having a meeting with your ex and your children to discuss the terms of the split.

Communicate directly with your ex

Never try to use your children to pass messages back and forth between you and your ex. They shouldn’t have to worry about that type of responsibility and there is a chance that the messages will be relayed incorrectly. To cut out possible problems, make sure you always communicate with your ex. This can happen either through verbal conversations or through written ones like texts, emails or messaging apps.

Keep your home calm

You can’t always control what happens at your ex’s house but you can make your own home a peaceful and safe place for your children. Remember that it can be difficult for the kids on transition days, so these might be good days to do something low-key like having a movie night at home so that they don’t feel more stress.

No matter what decisions are made about child custody matters, make sure that they are put into the parenting plan. Having everything in writing can minimize the chance that misunderstandings occur down the road.