How to Raise Your Kids Together, Apart

co-parenting
Erin Levine

By Erin Levine | May 23rd, 2018

In 13 years of working in family law, I’ve worked with hundreds (thousands?) of individuals and couples who have decided to end their marriage. A significant portion of those marriages involved children. Some of those marriages ended amicably, many did not. But, no matter how the marriage ended, you’re still going to have something in common for the rest of your lives together: your love for your kids.

Here are a few tips to keep up your sleeve as you navigate your next chapter with your ex, while keeping your kids the #1 focus:

Plan Summer Break (and all Holidays) Early

If you haven’t started planning for summer activities with your ex, yesterday would be a good time to start! But seriously: summer calendars do fill up fast, and you’ll both want to spend time with the kiddos before they head back to school this fall. Same thing goes for all holidays, in general. And, keep in mind: if you and your ex are unable to come to an agreement, you may need the court’s assistance – and it can take 4-10 weeks to get a hearing.

READ MORE: 4 Tips to Plan a Fun Getaway with Your Kids

A couple of questions to get the planning process started:

Maintain a Shared Calendar

“As a divorce lawyer, and having to currently co-parent with an ex, I can tell you that communication should be on autopilot. Yes and no by text are perfect ways to communicate. There should be no emotion in the response and stick to plain facts. Try to build mechanisms so you have to communicate as little as possible. For example, use Google Calendar to notify one another of events, and have communication from the schools send directly to both parents.” – Amy Saunders, Esq., Legal Solutions

calendar

As hard as it may be for you, for the good of your kids, it is important that you and your ex maintain regular communication about their schedule. A couple of my favorite calendar tools:

Google Calendar: It’s free, and by sharing a calendar, you and your ex can both make additions or edits. The Google calendar can sync with your phone, and thus your other calendars – making it easy to schedule custody sharing around everything else in your life.

Our Family Wizard: This app lets you create a family calendar, and it offers a message board. All communication through this app is recorded. So, if there’s ever an issue, this app will have a complete record of calendar dates and messages between you and your ex. Bonus: older kids can download the app to access the family calendar helping them stay informed of their own schedules.

Zimplified Life: Created by a divorced father with three kids, Zimplified is a website and app that helps you manage calendars, expenses, store kids’ health information and receipts, as well as communicate about child-related activities. It’s an all around helpful tool.

Keep Kids in the Loop

“My recommendation is to get past the anger of the separation and remember that you were entrusted with one of the greatest responsibilities in this universe – to raise mentally and emotionally stable, productive young people who are capable of making positive contributions to society. An angry and confused child is a possible starting point, but it definitely doesn’t have to continue that way.” – Dr. LaFarra Young-Gaylor of Young Pathology PLLC

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No matter how young or how old your child is, keeping them in the loop about their own schedule is key to making them feel part of it, and not like an object shuttled from home to home.

In the end, remember that the #1 rule of co-parenting is that it’s about the kids, not about you. It can be extremely hard, but the more you can separate your disagreements with your ex from the way you both co-parent your child, the easier it will be for your child to continue feeling loved by both parents, equally.

(And, if you liked this post, check out more co-parenting blogs on my website, HelloDivorce.com!)

Erin Levine

Erin Levine


Erin Levine is a Certified Family Law Specialist and the owner and managing attorney of Levine Family Law Group, based in Oakland, CA. She is the founder and CEO of Hello Divorce.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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