As you and your spouse work through your divorce, your No. 1 goal may be to ensure that you still get to see your children. However, with split custody, remember that even succeeding in this goal means that you get less time with them than you did previously. A completely even 50-50 split in parenting time between you and your ex still means just half of your time is with your children.

The key, then, is to make these shorter times really count. You need to get the most out of them and really connect with your children. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Stay off of the phone. You don’t have to abandon technology, as there’s definitely a place for watching movies as a family or playing a favorite video game, but don’t do things that exclude your child.
  • Make a plan in advance. Don’t waste time trying to come up with things to do. Talk to your children and decide what you want to do — going for a hike, playing board games, going out for pizza or whatever it may be — so that you can simply get started as soon as they arrive.
  • Don’t run errands. Go to the grocery store when the kids are with your ex. When you have them, focus on them, even when life feels busy.
  • Don’t be afraid to relax. Spending time together is very valuable, even if you’re not sticking to a plan or accomplishing anything specific. Just relax and enjoy each other’s company.

While considering how to create the best plan for your family, you need to be sure you understand your parental rights.