Setting terms for child custody and visitation can be one of the most complicated and emotional aspects of a divorce. You and your spouse both know you'll be better off separated, but it can be difficult to figure out how to share time and custody of your children. The time constraints of the school year can place additional strain on your co-parenting arrangements.
Adjusting to sharing custody of your children can take a while. Summer vacation allows for alternating weeks or even days with your spouse. You may have both gotten to take the kids on vacation. Now that school's back in session, however, there's a lot to consider. Who's responsible for getting them on and off the bus? What happens if there's less free time to spend with your children?
Splitting up drop off and pick up activities
So long as you and your ex both live in the same area, there's no reason why you can't equally share drop-off and pick-up responsibilities if you're aiming for shared custody. Perhaps one of you does the morning stuff and another does the evening, or maybe you rotate different days or even weeks.
You should communicate if a kid is missing school and plan to both attend conferences and other important meetings. By splitting up the obligations and responsibilities of parenting and school, you not only do your part to help your children, but you set a positive example about working together.
Your children will have a chance to rely on both of you as part of their daily lives, which will make maintaining a healthy and honest relationship that much easier.
Extracurricular activities may need to be shared
One of the simplest ways for your co-parenting arrangement to end up a mess is if your children participate in extracurricular activities. Your typical evenings with your children could get cut short or even canceled due to practices, rehearsals, club meetings and games.
Instead of getting angry and pushing back, try to be understanding. Can you attend the game or pick your kids up from their club meetings? Is it possible for both you and your ex to attend without any kind of conflict? If so, your children will surely benefit from seeing support from both parents.
Stay as flexible as possible
Remember that school schedules change and that your children are likely feeling a little stressed. Try your best to be supportive and to put your children first. Parenting time with your children is important, but so is social development and extracurricular fun. Encourage your children to be well-rounded and explore their passions. Doing so will benefit everyone in your family for many years to come.
Be willing to make changes and compromise, and hopefully your ex will meet you half way. If you can't find a way to make up missed time now, keep a record and negotiate for more time with the kids in the future.