Skip to Content

How to Share Custody of a Toddler With Your Ex

When you’re going through a divorce, it can be a devastating experience for both of you. If the two of you have a child together, that will make your divorce even more difficult to navigate – especially if your child is a toddler. The only thing you two may agree on is that you want to keep the divorce from hurting your child. Here is some guidance that may help you to help through this challenging time.

Separate Your Feelings

It’s okay to be angry or feel hurt towards your ex. But they are also a parent of your child, and that child needs both of you in their life. From the beginning, you and your former spouse must agree you will work together to keep your child’s life as stress-free as possible. If you can’t talk with each other without arguing, ask a neutral third person to sit in (like a counselor) – at least during the first discussions.

Expect Typical Toddler Reactions

According to Healthline, toddlers will be aware the two of you were fighting, yet not conclude that your separation is connected to those fights. The same source advises that toddlers going through a divorce may be fussy or show anger toward whichever parent they are not with. Some toddlers may be clingy or needy with the parent that they are with. Whichever reaction your toddler has, always reassure them that both of you love them – and that the divorce is not their fault.

Develop a Parenting Agreement

Don’t wait for the court to decide where your child will live and when they will visit the other parent. Statistics show the two parents can often agree upon visitation schedules by keeping the child’s best interests in mind. You and your ex can consider your schedules and decide on a visitation schedule that the court can approve. With continued open communication, you may also be able to agree on financial matters and other issues concerning your child.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

From the first discussion that the two of you have, after the separation, always try to remain respectful and recognize your ex as a co-parent with rights to make decisions about your child. Part of the reason the two of you are divorcing may be due to ineffective communication, so some of your discussions may need to take place with a counselor. But there will be times that you two must talk alone about parenting — and remaining respectful and keeping your child’s interests as your priority can help you get through those times.

Keep Both Homes Close Together

Whichever of you moves from your mutual home should try to find a place close to the home you previously shared. Living close to each other may be difficult for the two of you, but being nearby will make it more convenient when your child visits – and if either of your schedules warrants a last-minute change in visitation. Remaining in the same neighborhood will allow your child to stay near their friends and to keep going to the same school. After all, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of October 2021, half of three to four-year-olds were enrolled in preschool.

Maintain a Mutual Calendar

You should both keep a calendar of important dates in your child’s life, including visitation schedules. Keep a copy online, but also hold onto a hard copy with you. Include sports events, medical appointments, birthdays, and school activities. For example, according to New Mouth, approximately 15% to 53% of children will visit an orthodontist during their lifetime.

Going through a divorce is never easy, and sharing custody of a toddler can make it seem nearly impossible. Remember, when possible, that you, your spouse, and your child are still a family, albeit a fractured family. Use professional help when necessary, and you’ll get through this together in time.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.