Navigating divorce is no easy feat in New York, particularly when young children are involved. Why? Because the parents might initially agree with the idea of sharing custody of their children but may later find themselves at odds regarding the children’s upbringing. Fortunately, some steps may make for a smoother joint child custody experience in the long term.

First, showing one another respect is a must for joint custody to work. If the parties bash each other and share their negative opinions of the other with the children, this can drive a wedge between the parents as well as between the parents and the children. The more respectful the two parties are, the less likely they are to have conflict.

Also, it is wise for the two parents to reside close to each other — for example, no more than 20 miles apart. The further away they are, the more challenging it will be for their children to spend 50% of their time with both parties. In addition, it would behoove both parties to keep a calendar detailing when the children are supposed to be at whose home. This will help to alleviate misunderstandings that could lead to conflict.

In many cases, divorcing parents in New York are able to come to an agreement on child custody at the negotiation table, thus avoiding further court intrusion. During this process, an attorney can make sure that a divorcing parent’s rights are protected in the agreement. Still, sometimes parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, so a judge must decide this for them. In this situation, the attorney will be prepared to litigate this matter with the goal of achieving an outcome that is in the client’s and children’s best interests.