Adjusting to a new custody arrangement can be difficult particularly when attempting to settle into a new life and possibly a new home at the same time. There are a few things that you can do, however, to make the transition easier for both you and your child. This blog explores post-divorce life in Indiana in terms of adjusting to new custody arrangements.
Whether you were named the custodial or the non-custodial parent in your divorce, there will be an adjustment period to the new custody arrangement for both you and your children. The first thing that you can do to make the adjustment go as smoothly as possible is to keep the same schedule, rules, and routines (Healthline) that you had before the divorce. This will provide you both with the comfort of familiarity and help to ensure that your child does not face any unnecessary uncertainty that sometimes results when a divorce causes the child to suddenly have two separate homes. Children need to know what is going to happen next, and since they generally have no control over what does, can become anxious and depressed when there is a lack of structure in the home of either parent.
Another thing you can do to help facilitate adjustment to the new custody arrangement is to allow your child’s other parent to have liberal parenting time if they are the non-custodial parent. If you are the non-custodial parent, attempt to reach a compromise with your former spouse that allows you to have the child as close to 50% of the time as you can agree. Studies show that children in joint custody arrangements are better adjusted and display fewer psychological symptoms than children who only see the non-custodial parent a few days a month (American Psychological Association). Remember, your child is used to having both parents present in the home, and if he or she feels like seeing the non-custodial parent is simply a “visit” and not just being at home with mom or dad, psychological symptoms may begin to develop. With a 50-50 split, the parent who has not generally been the primary caregiver has an opportunity to form a stronger bond with the child. And both parties get a break from being a parent every few days so that they can concentrate on themselves and start learning what they want out of the next chapter of their lives (Todays Parent).
One of the best ways to help a child adjust to the new living arrangements is to ensure that they have their own space in each parent’s home. Even if the child does not have their own bedroom, they need a space that is all theirs (New York Times). A corner of the living room where they can have bookshelves, a toy box, and bed is perfect. If your child is old enough, encourage them to help set up and decorate the space. Allow them to choose the paint colors, books and toys, bedding, and any furniture that will go in their space. If you were awarded the marital residence, this might be a good time to redecorate and make the space yours and your child’s (Main Line Family Law Center). Not only can this help your child feel at home and not like a visitor, but it will help to organize your home and create a place that you enjoy being in and looking at every day.
Aside from having their own space, a child will feel more at home if the things they use on a daily basis are kept in the house. This includes clothing, tooth and hairbrushes, bath and shower supplies, and favorite games or toys (you can always have two of the same item, one to keep in each home). Having these items in both homes can also help prevent parental disputes that can arise when clothing and personal care items are not returned or are returned in poor condition. It will also allow the child to go back and forth between residences without the worry and stress of having to pack a bag and possibly forgetting something important.
Once your child has adjusted to the new living arrangements, you can begin to focus some of your energy on you and your adjustment and healing. Many newly divorced men and women find that they really do not know who they are without their spouse. Old hobbies, pastimes, and interests took a backseat to the things their spouse enjoyed. Rediscovering yourself can help you heal from the divorce and find new activities to enjoy (Marriage.com). You may even find a new hobby that you can share with your child. If you are happy and enjoying your children, everyone will adjust to the new custody arrangement more easily and in less time.
This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.