When you're not comfortable seeing your ex-spouse, it can be hard to share custody of your child. Dropping him or her off and seeing a new girlfriend or boyfriend might enrage you, or you may fear a dispute every time you meet.
The reality is that parents need to find a way to get through custody concerns with grace and dignity. Here are three things you can do to make custody easier on yourself.
1. Think about your child's feelings, first
The first thing you should always do in any negative custody situation is to think about how your child feels. Although you may not have good feelings about the other parent, you need to put your child first and remember that he or she make feel that talking negatively about the other parent is actually talking negatively about him or her.
Why? Your child is the other parent's child, too. Children often understand that they share features and genetic similarities with their parents, so talking negatively about the parent will only put your child at risk of feeling negatively about him or herself.
On top of that, it's not nice. Even if you don't feel the other parent was good to you, that doesn't mean that he or she is bad to your child. Try to focus on the positive, and keep the negatives for court.
2. Find a neutral drop-off location
If you truly cannot stand seeing the other parent, consider having a neutral drop-off location. This can be any location, but good locations for drop offs are those where your child doesn't feel awkward. For instance, dropping your child off at a mutual friend's home.
3. Keep records
Finally, if there are reasons why you feel the other parent is a negative influence that you want out of your child's life, it's necessary to keep records. Without good evidence, it's nearly impossible to challenge custody arrangements. Keep things like harassing emails and letters, identify missed drop-off times or days where the other parent didn't come for visitation and get witnesses to back your observations up. The other parent should be attempting to do his or her best to keep your custody arrangements moving smoothly and without animosity. If you have multiple times when fights break out or the other parent doesn't show up, it's worth having a chat with the judge.