'Teen Mom OG' 's Amber Portwood on Ending Custody Battle with Ex Gary Shirley: 'We're Doing Really Good with This'

"Me and Gary don't exactly have the greatest way of communicating," Portwood tells PEOPLE

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Deano/Beetham/Splash News

Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley‘s co-parenting relationship is going as “smoothly as it can be.”

The Teen Mom OG star opened up to PEOPLE about her rocky relationship with her 29-year-old ex and how they came about sharing 50/50 custody of their daughter Leah in a civil way.

“Me and Gary sat on his front porch and talked about everything,” Portwood tells PEOPLE. “[We were] like ‘Okay, what should we do?’ And we made the decision that he would take primary custody, simply because we didn’t want to take her out of her school. She’s going to a really great school and she’s in an advanced class and I don’t want to take that away from her.”

“What we did was we did joint custody where it’s open communication,” she adds. “It actually says in the contract that it’s open communication to see BooBoo during the school year. I can call everyday and go pick her up from school if I wanted to. I have her on my weekends and during the summer we had her back and forth 50/50. It was great. I would have her for like a week straight and we’re doing really good with this.”

In fact, Portwood, 26, and Shirley were able to settle without having to go back to court.

“I think people thought that I lost the case, but no,” she says. “We never went to court. We settled this outside of court and it was a decision for Leah, not for us. I just get to spend more time with her, that’s all I wanted.”

As for where they are now as co-parents, Portwood says they get along, but there’s still a lack of communication lingering between the former couple.

“I mean, come on. It’s as smooth as it can be,” she says while laughing. “Me and Gary don’t exactly have the greatest way of communicating, but we’re doing better. It’s going the way that everybody would think it’s going.”

As for their daughter, Leah, 7, she’s blossoming right before their eyes.

“She’s so smart,” Portwood gushes. “I know every mom says that about their kids, but she’s just excelling. She’s so beautiful; I don’t know where she gets it. It’s crazy. She’s the greatest big sister to Emily (Shirley’s daughter with his wife Kristina Anderson). She loves that little girl. It’s the cutest thing. And Emily kind of looks like her when she was little. She’s the cutest little thing.”

Teen Mom OG‘s two-hour, season 6 premiere airs Aug. 22 at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.

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