After a divorce, many parents will share custody of their children. This means that for better or worse, they will continue to be in each other’s lives as they raise their children together. While this can be a difficult adjustment to make, there are ways to make it a little easier.
For instance, parents can set clear boundaries.
Physical boundaries — Some parents may decide to define physical boundaries, including rules for where they can live. As an example, divorced parents Anna Faris and Chris Pratt reportedly agreed to live within five miles of each other until their son finishes the sixth grade. These physical boundaries regarding where parents will live may help children and parents alike feel more secure.
Personal boundaries — Divorce is a difficult process, and people do not adjust overnight. Therefore, defining personal boundaries can be crucial. This could involve agreeing not to enter one another’s homes during custody exchanges, or refraining from introducing a child to a new partner for a certain amount of time. Setting these boundaries can make it easier for parents to navigate this highly emotional process with some protection.
Legal boundaries — Setting legal boundaries can help parents avoid or resolve conflicts that could arise when sharing custody. For instance, each parent should clearly understand their rights and responsibilities regarding custody. Parents might also define resolution methods by agreeing to resolve custody disputes in mediation as opposed to litigation. Defining these boundaries can ensure that both parties understand their rights and the process for resolving custody-related issues.
With the passage of time, these boundaries might change, so it may be helpful to revisit them every couple of years or when the needs of a parent or child change.
Effective boundaries can be healthy and promote a sense of stability during tumultuous times. For both your sake and your child’s sake, it can be wise to think carefully about the boundaries you might want to set if you share custody.