Divorce or breaking up with someone you share a child with can be hard enough, but the presence of children from the relationship can make things even more complicated. In the U.S. almost 27% of all children live in a household with one parent while the other parent lives elsewhere. This means that child custody is a major issue – an issue that can be complicated even further by the child being in school.
While the child is on summer break or some other school vacation things may run smoother, but the school year brings up a whole host of issues that must be resolved if shared custody of a child or children is to be successful.
It’s easy as a parent to fall into one of two traps: either focusing on your own schedule and making everyone else conform to it, or focusing on punishing the other parent for differences between the two of you that really have nothing to do with the child. When deciding on modifications to be made in terms of custody, the needs of the child should take precedent whenever possible.
If the child is older, give them input into the schedule. Take into account which parent is closer to the school, has better transportation options and has more time to deal with school issues as they arise. When possible, both parents should be involved, but if it works better for the child’s schedule for just one parent to handle something, that’s probably the way to go.
Older children will be better equipped to handle changes in their schedule, but in all cases it’s important to be as consistent as possible when making a child custody schedule for the school year. If your child understands schedules and calendars it may even be a good idea to give them access to the schedule on their computer/tablet/phone so they know what is coming up and they can feel they have more control over what probably seems to them to be a fluid situation.
And while consistency is important, always remember that the needs of the child must come first. If adjustments need to be made for their sake and to make things easier on them, don’t hesitate to make those changes. Adjustments will also be needed as the child grows older and their scheduling needs change.
Parents who split up may not like each other and may want as little to do with each other as possible. But if you have a child with someone, it doesn’t matter what your personal feelings are; you will need to communicate for the sake of the child. With technology being what it is, there is no reason not to be able to communicate effectively with the other parent, whether in person, by phone, by text or by video chat. The child should be able to communicate with the parent they are not currently with when they like as well.
If you have any questions about making modifications to child custody agreements or sticking to a custody schedule, contact the Estevez-Pazos Law Firm and talk with a child custody attorney today, or call 305-717-7130 for a consultation.