When parents in California separate or divorce, many are committed to staying fully present in the lives of their children. Joint or shared custody is increasingly common so that each parent has around half of the time with the kids. However, while joint custody can be extremely beneficial for children’s emotional development and well-being, it can also come with complex situations during custody transfers. When kids move from one house to another, the process can be difficult and emotionally challenging. It is important for families to take steps to prepare for positive custody swaps in order to make them a better experience for kids.

While people may have some challenges communicating with their former spouse after the divorce, co-parenting requires communication. People will need to plan where custody transitions will take place and what time they will happen. Planning in advance can help avoid miscommunication. Sometimes, the other partner may request a change to the custody schedule; when possible, it can be good to be flexible. After all, each parent is likely to need flexibility at some point. In addition, the kids can be involved in the communication process. When they know what to expect, they are less likely to get upset or feel anxiety during the transition, especially when younger kids are involved.

Kids can also benefit from having choices during custody changes. It can be difficult for kids to adjust to moving from week to week, so having some control over the process can help them to feel better. For example, they could choose the clothes or toys they bring with them from house to house.

The changes that come with shared custody can be confusing as families adjust to life after divorce. A family law attorney may help parents to negotiate a positive parenting plan and a child custody agreement.