No matter how carefully considered and detailed your custody and visitation agreement is, there may be times when you or your co-parent need to deviate from it. Usually, when co-parents can't take the kids for their scheduled parenting time, they negotiate a "swap." If a co-parent has to go out of town for business or a family emergency on the weekend the kids are supposed to be with them, for example, they'll ask their co-parent to keep them and promise to take them for a different couple of days.
As you and your spouse are working out your custody agreement, you might want to include something called the "right of first refusal." This means that if you or your spouse is not going to be able to care for your children during a time when you have custody of them, you must contact your co-parent to give them the opportunity to do so before you ask a family member, babysitter or someone else to do so. This can include after-school situations where you won't be available to pick up the kids and take them home, an evening out or an unexpected business trip.
All the books and articles about healthy co-parenting after divorce you've been reading tell you not to criticize or speak ill of your co-parent in front of your kids. Don't call them names, don't blame them when things don't go the way you'd hoped and don't lie about them.
If you and your co-parent are living some distance apart, whether 20 miles or hundreds of miles, neither of you may want to make that drive when you trade off custody of the kids. Fortunately, there's an app for that. Actually, there are multiple sites to help people find locations that are halfway between two places. A popular one for co-parents is Meetways.
If you and your spouse can't agree on a child custody arrangement during your divorce, a family court judge will need to decide the matter. The primary consideration for judges is what's in the child's best interests.
Whether you live across town from your children or relocation by you or your ex has placed you hundreds or even thousands of miles away, you can stay connected to your kids via the many forms of virtual visitation.
If this was your last holiday season with your spouse before your divorce gets underway, you likely spent part of it with other family members on both sides -- particularly if you have children. While most parents want to make sure that their kids continue to see all of their grandparents after divorce, relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles can be more difficult to maintain or may simply not be a priority for the parent who isn't related to them.
If you're facing your first holiday season as a separated or divorced parent, you're going to experience more than the usual amount of holiday stress. However, your children shouldn't. They should look back on this Christmas fondly rather than as the nightmare Christmas after their parents split up. Here are some simple ways to help make this happen for your children.
Many families take their first post-divorce vacations over their kids' winter break. If your children are going away with your co-parent, if you're taking them on vacation to visit family or if you're taking them to enjoy some skiing up north or other adventure, it's essential to help your kids stay connected with their other parent while they're away.
When divorced parents who've struggled with alcohol or drug dependency have been in recovery for a time, they often seek increased custody and visitation rights. It's essential to realize, however, that just because you believe that you can now be the parent your children need you to be, that doesn't mean that they're ready to let you.