Co-parenting can be challenging. That’s all the more reason to set up a parenting schedule that works for everyone involved. While the logistics of transferring a child between households can be complicated, there are solutions for co-parents.
What to think about
Decide whether or not to involve the kids. If your children are old enough, getting their input into the “new normal” could help them make this difficult transition.
Sit down and map out everyone’s schedules. When do you and your ex have to be at work? When do the kids have to be at school? Can your children ride the bus, or do they need transportation? What lessons and extracurricular activities have your children committed to? All of these are details that will need to be considered.
Determine if additional child care will be required to make the new schedule work. If you and your ex do not live near each other, consider asking another adult to help with the logistics of the new schedule. You cannot be in two places at once, after all. That’s why having an additional driver, or someone to get the kids ready for school or be there until you get home, will be helpful.
What to avoid
There are no winners or losers here. Do not use the parenting schedule like some game of revenge. These are your kids, and you need to respect their feelings. They should never be pawns in a game of emotional blackmail with your ex.
Do not assume that you are the only parent who can make decisions. Regardless of the reasons for your divorce, your ex is still your child’s parent too; they should have input not only into their schedule but discipline as well. If you disagree about rules and responsibilities for your kids, discuss it one-on-one with your ex. A consistent, unified front is generally best for children.
If you have questions about enforcing a custody schedule on a parent who will not comply, reach out to a lawyer. An attorney could explain your options and help you pursue custody modifications if necessary.