01 Jul Sharing Precious Commodities
Sharing Precious Commodities
No, I’m not talking about your house or your bank account. I’m talking about your children.
Taking the time to come up with a custody schedule is one of the most important pieces of your divorce agreement. While it may not be easy to communicate amicably with the person you have decided that you no longer want to spend the rest of your life with, for the sake of your kids, you certainly need to try your very best.
Just as every family is unique, so is every custody schedule. You should consider your own lifestyle and that of your children and come up with a solution that will work for everyone and put the least amount of stress on your kids.
Start with the overall picture – will you be doing an alternating week 50/50 schedule? Sounds like the most simple solution, but this simply does not work for everyone. Maybe every second weekend with one parent and dinner once or twice a week is a better option? There is no end to the permutations and combinations of schedules that are possible and it is so important to work together to come up with one that is right for your family.
You should also very clearly outline the terms for how you will share things like school holidays over Christmas/New Year’s and March break. Be very clear about pick up and drop off times. It may seem petty now but down the road, it may be the very thing that keeps the peace between you and your ex.
Include specifics about how you will handle special days, such as religious holidays, kids’ birthdays, parents and grandparents birthdays, mother’s day and father’s day. These are moments that the children want to share with both parents and it can be very stressful on them if they feel as though they are picking sides. If they are old enough, talk to them about it and get their input. This will help to reduce the fear and anxiety they may be feeling about the future and what it will look like and mean for them.
Take the time now to discuss the summer months when the kids are not in school. Will they be going to camp? Will there be trips that may involve a longer time with one parent? You might want to consider including terms such as one parent having first choice of summer vacation dates in even numbered years and the other parent choosing first in odd numbered years.
If the discussion becomes too heated, consider going to mediation to work it out before getting your back up and each heading to their own lawyer. Trust me, this choice of action will only put an additional emotional strain and huge financial burden on what is already a difficult time. There is no right or wrong here, just the need for as much attention to detail as possible to help ease this transition for everyone.
Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. - John Wayne