Co-parenting is hard, and there is no way around it. But, whether you are new to co-parenting or have done it for many years, there are ways to make it easier for both parents and the child (children). Ultimately, you want the situation to work smoothly for everyone, and most importantly, your kids. According to psychologytoday.com, “having two involved parents is the most healthy thing for your kids (with some exceptions, like physical abuse or active, untreated addictions).” So how can this be achieved? With years of experience, Kevin Shupperd has seen a wide variety of co-parenting techniques as a Boise and Meridian divorce attorney. These are the top tips compiled from years of observation and knowledge.
1. Work Schedules
Custody may have to be adjusted depending on the parents’ work schedules. While equal joint custody may sound nice, and seem more ‘fair’, the work schedules must be considered in each situation. For example, if one parent works long days and the child would just be in daycare or with a babysitter, it would be beneficial for the child to have them stay with the other parent who isn’t working at that time. It is all about balancing schedules so the child gets the most time with their parents. Custody may have to be adjusted depending on the parents’ work schedules.
Where each parent lives also plays a large factor in custody and co-parenting. If the parents live more than 30 miles away from each other, going back and forth will be tiring and troublesome for both the parents and the child. In addition, residency determines the school a child attends. It will be tasking to drive the child to and from school on their days if the parent lives over 30 miles away. It is important that parents come to a mutual agreement as adults to ensure the child gets proper education and is not missing school due to living in two homes.
3. School and Extracurricular Activities
A child’s activities are an important part of their life. When it comes to incorporating them into co-parenting, communication is key. Both parents should let the other know about any and all school and extracurricular activities the child is involved with. This communication is necessary for multiple reasons. The first reason is that the child will not want to miss a soccer practice, art class, singing lesson, or baseball game because the parents did not communicate the schedules to one another. The second reason this communication of activities is important because it gives the parent and child more to talk about. Knowing that the child is involved in an activity will allow the parent to ask questions, start conversations, and get to know their passions. Ultimately, it will make their bond stronger and make your child feel like their activities are important to both mom and dad.
After parents separate, the child is often given a form of counseling. While this can be helpful for the child, there are a lot of considerations to be mindful of when starting counseling, and it is crucial for both parents to be involved in the process. Both parents should be helping with the choosing of a counselor, the length of time the child will be in counseling, what will be discussed in counseling, and what will be discussed after the counseling appointments at home. These are not easy decisions to make and that is why both parents must come to a mutual agreement.
5. Sibling Relationships
This is a hard and stressful time for everyone. The child needs friends and other relationships to continue to grow, even through stressful times. Joint custody might mean that one sibling is at one parent’s house while the other goes to the other parent’s home. This causes the siblings to not see each other as much, if at all, through the week. It is important that the child still gets to foster their relationship with their sibling(s). The children should not be deprived of those relationships because of co-parenting schedules. This is just another factor to take into consideration when discussing custody.
Divorce and subsequent co-parenting is not easy. The most important thing is that both parents understand that the children take the priority and the parents must be responsible, respectful, and put in the extra work needed to continue providing a safe and supporting family.
We understand how difficult co-parenting is, and that is why Kevin Shupperd has a passion for helping all of his clients with divorce and family law in Boise and Nampa going through this rough time in their lives. These tips should help make the transition and process smoother for everyone! Co-parenting will work when both parents have the best interest of the child in mind.