Divorce is hard on the entire family, and kids are no exception. As you work through custody decisions and rulings, there are five steps you can take to create a plan that works well for your whole family.
Keep Your Children’s Best Interests at Heart
Your divorce means a new lifestyle for your children, and this situation should be handled with care. A planned routine can help kids feel more comfortable, and each parent should maintain a stable, individual relationship with them. Divorce is not a battle to be won, but rather, a transition for your family. Your children should not feel as though they need to pick a side. Remember, your children are not your support system or your former partner’s, and it is important to rely on friends, family members, or counselors for help during this challenging time.
Create a Detailed Schedule
The most detailed portion of the co-parenting agreement is the time log. You will want to consider school and work schedules as well as extracurricular activities, holidays, vacations, and time for your children to be with friends. Each parent should have a clear idea of when and where they should pick up the kids. Other important factors to consider include the distance between locations, the number of overnight stays each parent will be responsible for, and the total time each parent spends with the kids for special activities versus the regular routine. The goal is to streamline plans and communication to make the transition and stress of joint custody easier for you, your ex, and your children.
Discuss Decision Making Processes
You should plan ahead for major decisions such as selecting a school, following a religion, disciplining the children, elective medical procedures, and more. Minor decisions can most likely be handled by the parent who is with the children at the time, but they should still be communicated to the other parent. By making these decisions ahead of time, you can avoid future conflict and keep the children removed from parental disagreements. You should also notify your extended family of any decisions that will impact their relationship with your children.
Make a Financial Plan
Whether or not you are in need of alimony, you should create a financial plan for things like school supplies and tuition, extracurricular activities and necessary gear, medical needs, and more. Depending on the schedule you create, the parent paying for each appointment or activity may not be present at the time of payment, so you will need to make other arrangements in advance. Be sure to track all expenses no matter how you decide to split the cost of childcare.
Establish Forms of Communication
Lastly, you and your spouse will need to establish an easy way to communicate. You will also need a designated time to reevaluate your co-parenting plan to make any necessary changes and ensure it is working well. Some great solutions include phone calls, email, texting, shared digital calendars, and shared folders online for any documents like medical forms, applications, school reports, etc. When communicating with your ex, you should pick your battles, focus on your child’s best interests, and let the more trivial topics go.
Are you going through a divorce or working to create a co-parenting agreement?
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Trinity Hundredmark heads our Domestic Relations Division. She is an experienced attorney with more than a decade of experience representing clients. For more information, or to request a virtual case evaluation, contact our law office at 1-770-467-3205.