As a parent, you don’t want your divorce to damage your relationship with your kids — but that can be tough to prevent if you aren’t in regular contact with them. While it’s generally acknowledged that kids thrive the best when both parents are equally involved in their lives, that doesn’t mean that the courts always grant parents a 50-50 deal when it comes to parenting time.

If you want equal parenting time with your ex-spouse, here are some tips that can help make that happen:

  1. Pay your support. Part of being a parent is making sure that your child’s needs are met. You don’t want any accusations that you’re not concerned about your child’s well-being to hold water.
  2. Document your time. Get a calendar and keep notes about when you talk to the kids (even by phone or text), when you take them to the doctor’s office or attend their school functions. You need to show the court that you’re as actively involved in their lives as their other parent.
  3. Stay close at hand. If you’ve moved out of the family house already, make sure that you don’t go far. It’s easier for the kids to move back and forth between homes that are in close proximity, and the court is primarily concerned with their well-being.
  4. Make sure you have space. You won’t win any points with the court if your child only has a pull-out couch to sleep on at your home but a whole bedroom at their other place.
  5. Know how you plan to handle your obligations. Parenting a child of any age takes time. If your work pulls you away from home a lot, be ready to explain how you plan to be there for your children when you’re needed.

A child custody battle can be one of the most difficult experiences anybody ever goes through. Find out more about your legal rights and options.