Child custody cases are often a challenge for the parents. These cases put two adults who couldn't make a marriage or relationship work in a situation where they must find a way to get along. When you and your ex opt to co-parent, you might find that there are specific challenges that come up.
You might use a new month, year or custody order as the boost you need to set the standards for your co-parenting relationship. If you are in this position, here are some points that you need to consider:
Communicate like an adult
A successful co-parenting relationship starts with respectful communication. If you and your ex can't communicate like adults, you will likely find that the relationship is going to devolve beyond repair. This isn't a good thing. No matter what challenges and contentious issues you are facing, being able to work through them akin to a business-like manner is imperative.
Decide who gets decision-making power
The major decisions in your child's life will need to be made by either one parent or both parents. You and your ex need to set the standards for this now. Make a clear plan for who is going to make the choices for specific aspects of life.
- Who will decide if the child attends church?
- Who will go to parent-teacher conferences and make education-related decisions?
- Who will make decisions about the child's medical care?
- What plan will we follow if there is an emergency?
Plan for expenses
Money is often a hot-button issue for co-parents. You and your ex need to determine who is responsible for the costs of raising your children. This goes beyond child support payments. Talk about who will pay for the extracurricular activities, such as dance, band or hockey. You also need to discuss school expenses like field trip fees and school supplies. Even medical expenses, such as those not covered by insurance, should be decided now.
Even if you know who will pay for a specific expense, you need to figure out how the payments will work. If one parent pays a shared expense, will the other parent pay his or her portion as a reimbursement right away or will these costs be tallied up at specific intervals?
Discuss the schedule
One thing to remember when you co-parent is that the schedule is often fluid. You might not be able to have a set schedule, but you can communicate with your ex about special days.
An example would be a kindergarten graduation. Both parents are likely going to show up.
- Who will ride with the child to the event?
- With whom will the child leave?
- What are the plans for a celebration?
As you can see, there are many points of co-parenting that will require you to work closely with your ex. Setting the standards for this now can help you well into the future.