Every parent knows spending time with your child is important, but when you’re divorced, spending time with your child typically means following some type of child custody agreement. When getting divorced, the judge will either give both parents joint custody of the child or give one parent sole custody of the child. When a parent has sole custody, it doesn’t mean the other parent cannot see their child; it simply means the other parent has more control over the child’s rights and best interests. There are a variety of reasons why a judge would rule for sole custody, but that doesn’t mean the parent without custody will never see their child. Instead, you just need to work extra hard to stay involved. Below are tips to help you stay involved with your child when your ex has sole custody.
Follow the arrangement to the T.
When your ex has sole custody, anything you do wrong could revoke your agreement and make it harder for you to spend time with your child. This is why it’s absolutely necessary for you to follow the arrangement made exactly. For instance, if you have set days to be with your child, don’t miss one. If there’s a certain time and place you need to be for pickup/drop-off, be there. By following the arrangement, you’re not only proving to your child how much you care, but also proving to the court system that you care, which could put you in a position to try for joint custody in the future.
Get involved in activities.
Unless you are legally bound not to, you should get involved with your child’s activities. For instance, if your child plays baseball, volunteer to coach the team. This gives you more time with your child and lets you experience new things together. If you can’t commit to coaching, be sure you get involved in other ways, such as by volunteering to bring snack, or by simply making sure you’re at every game as your child’s biggest cheerleader.
Communicate with your ex.
Ample communication between you and your ex is extremely important when it comes to your child, so be proactive when it comes to communication. Obviously you don’t want to harass your ex in any way, but be sure to check in and see how your child is doing. (If your child is old enough to have their own phone, be sure to communicate with them regularly as well.) As for your ex, be sure to ask for schedules to activities or any other pertinent information that would be good for you to know. If your ex is being difficult, contact your child’s coach or school directly and ask to be placed on a communication list. This way, you can stay in the know yourself.
Make the time count.
When you’re limited to the amount of time you can spend with your child, you need to be sure you make it count. For instance, don’t schedule your own activities when your child is going to be with you. Instead, be sure to do something that you both will enjoy and spend that time together. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton of money when your child is over, but don’t spend the entire time with you both staring at your phones. Even going out to dinner or playing a game together is enough to help build a stronger bond between you and your child and give you the time you deserve.
Being the parent without custody can be stressful, but don’t let it put a strain on your relationship with your child. Instead, follow these tips and be the best parent you can be.