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How to maintain a noncustodial relationship with your kids

Ending a marriage is hard enough, but when both parents are concerned about the feelings of their children, the situation can be heartbreaking. If your ex ends up as the custodial parent and you become the noncustodial dad, it will be a rough adjustment for your kids to not see you every day. Fortunately, there are ways you can stay involved and build relationships even as the noncustodial parent.

Constantly communicate

If you get the kids every other weekend and twice during the week, do not let this stop you from reaching out to them whenever you think of them. Simple phone calls, texts and even visits--when arranged with the other parent--can show your kids that you will remain as involved as possible with them.

Deal with your own anger and emotion

As you encourage your kids to process and share their emotions about the divorce, your actions will speak louder than your words. If you successfully deal with your emotions tied to the divorce, you are more likely to have a comfortable, positive relationship with the other parent who has the kids daily. This means more time with your kids when you want it, regardless of what your decree says.

Take opportunities to be involved in day-to-day life

Do not fall into the trap of being "Disneyland Dad" where your kids expect nothing but fun, games and late nights when they are with you. Keep your expectations consistent from house to house, and volunteer to get involved with your kids daily. Offer to help in their classes, coach their soccer teams or even take them when your ex goes out.

Never badmouth mom

Your kids love you and they love their mother. Whenever one of you speaks badly of the other, they feel conflicted and confused. Keep any angry comments for those who are neutral to the situation, and do not lay your own frustration at your children's feet.

One part of maintaining a relationship with your kids after divorce is ensuring that you have a solid arrangement from the beginning. If you are considering a divorce and want to make sure you have access to your kids when you want it, we encourage you to visit with an attorney.

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