You’ve gone through the divorce. You’ve seen the lawyers, made the proper financial arrangements – and even ended everything on good terms. Now you’re faced with the next big question – how do you raise your child as a co-parent? Our answer – make a co-parenting plan.
Unlike a divorce which – most of the time – has a finite timeline – raising a child is a lifetime job. As a company who helps families work out disputes, we’ve seen that the best way to make sharing childcare responsibilities and expenses is to have a check-list and make a plan that is considerate to both parties. Here’s where we would start with a co-parenting checklist:
- Make and stick to a schedule: Whether it’s the mother of father who will be seeing the child less, make sure that there is a plan and you stick to it. For example, perhaps there is an agreed upon hours of commitment of 12 hours a week that one parent is to see the child. A good plan allows for working months in advance, taking into account work travel, vacations, time off, or anything else that might get in the way. We recommend a shared calendar to keep tabs on the timeline.
- Regular child support payments: It’s as true in divorce as it is in marriage: money can be a relationship killer. That’s why we created and launched SupportPay, the first automated child support payment platform that easily allows you to schedule, manage and keep track of all your child support payments. When co-parenting, you want to make sure that the things like money don’t come in the way of being able to spend more time and energy on important things. Make your life easier by using SupportPay. Make sharing expenses a breeze.
- Plan for holidays: Everyone wants to see the kids around the holidays. Even relatives who are allergic to children like having them around during family get togethers. But because everyone wants the kids around, it makes having them around for both families for all holidays impossible. That’s why the key to success here is planning out when and where and how you’re going to share holiday duties. If you want two Thanksgivings – plan on it. Two Christmases? Plan on it. It’s crucial that you know this in advance, and it’s a key to being a good co-parent.
- Make sure you are positive about your ex – We get it, there’s a reason you got divorced. But if you’re being a co-parent, remember to always keep the conversation about the other parent a positive one. If you’re sharing time with your children, they need to understand and respect the other parent. Negativity doesn’t work – but letting the children know that there is mutual respect is a good thing.
- Extracurriculars – Again, share a calendar. An even better one is to divide time among strengths and interests. Do you like sports but your ex doesn’t? You can be the one in charge of little league. Do you not really enjoy music? Have the ex focus on piano. Be most invested in the parts of your child’s life that you yourself are invested in. Try to share these with your ex.