- Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce
- August 17, 2010
- Law Firm: Innovative Divorce Solutions - Salt Lake City Office
Ken (a contractor) and Barb (a website designer), were divorced five years ago. Their two sons are now ages 9 and 11. Even though they have moved on emotionally and are now involved with new partners, Ken and Barb have chosen to live within a mile from each other. The boys easily and safely ride bikes or skateboards between the two homes.
The boys are with Ken (sometimes sleeping at Ken’s house, sometimes not) every Monday and Tuesday, and every other weekend. Barb has the boys every Wednesday and Thursday, and every other weekend. Yes, if you count the days on a calendar, this is a 50/50 schedule. They have all adapted well to this schedule, which has been consistent, predictable, and stable for the boys.
But what happens behind the scenes by these two parents is far more important than the implementation of their 50/50 schedule (or any schedule they might choose to follow). At least once a week Ken and Barb talk on the phone to discuss what’s going on with the boys. They go over their schedules, what’s happening at school, on the soccer field, and any upcoming doctor or orthodontist appointments.
Barb can leave work when she wants to. So regardless of whose day it is with the kids, Barb usually arranges for and handles all of the doctor and orthodontist appointments. Ken is an assistant coach on the boy’s soccer team. So he is usually in charge of getting the boys to their practices and games. Also, Ken is off work at 3:30 p.m. during the week, while Barb often stays late to meet with clients in the evening. So on most days, Ken is in charge of picking up the boys from school and keeping an eye on them until Barb finishes work.
In my view, divorcing couples should focus less energy on the visitation or time sharing schedule they will follow with their kids. Instead, the couple should be encouraged to explore ways to handle the day-to-day sharing of parental decisions and responsibilities. Like Ken and Barb, divorced parents should attempt to share parental responsibilities according to their capabilities, interests, and resources (i.e. time).