When divorced parents in Tennessee are granted joint physical custody, they may face a number of challenges. The best way to overcome these challenges is often by focusing on the child. This means parents must set aside their own emotions about the divorce and act to ensure the best interests of the child. They should keep in mind that their former partner can be an excellent parent even if they were not a good spouse.
Parents should not say negative things about one another in front of the children and should try to avoid conflict as much as possible. This can mean simply letting some things go. Communication can help prevent some conflict, and parents should settle on a communication method that works for them. This might be by phone or text, but there are also sites and tools that are specifically created to help divorced parents communicate about custody issues.
It is also important to settle on a custody schedule that works for the children. Parents should not overestimate their availability. They can alternate weeks, or they can use schedules such as 2-2-3 or 2-2-5 in which they alternate which parent has the child the most in any given week. The child may have some input into the scheduling but should not necessarily have the final word. It’s important to keep in mind that the schedule may need changing over the years.
Parents should use these same principles even if they are not sharing custody 50-50. They may be able to reach a custody agreement through negotiation, but if this is not possible, they might have to turn to litigation. One situation that could complicate the issue is if one parent believes that the child is unsafe with the other parent. An attorney may help a parent prepare documentation in this situation that results in supervised visitation for the other parent.