This is my final post in my series which discussed various issues related to custody schedule maintenance, and the importance of having and sticking to a custody plan. I wrote this series because, as a divorce coach, I understand that post-divorce the custody schedule is only step one. As life continues to unfold, co-parents inevitably will have disagreements, changes to their or their children’s routines, and unexpected issues that will arise. While it is impossible to address all of the natural emotions that come up when splitting custody and spending time away from your children, my goal of this series was to help parents troubleshoot areas that are frequently challenging and can be initially overlooked.
Throughout this series, I have addressed a number of topics that can be challenging for both newly single and long divorced parents. Topics I have covered include:
- The importance of having an initial custody schedule and why it should be followed as closely as possible
- Various ways to communicate with a co-parent regarding an upcoming schedule
- Why it is important for single parents to take advantage of the time their children are away to focus on self-care
- The importance of communicating with a co-parent far in advance with regards to birthdays, special holidays and vacations
My hope in writing this series is twofold. One, if co-parents can stick to the general structure of an initial custody schedule, they can hopefully avoid having to go back to court with disagreements. Going back to court is both stressful for children, and expensive for everyone. There are of course times where legal action cannot be avoided, but that should be reserved for a true emergency, or a situation that truly cannot be resolved through compromise and communication between the parents. Many disagreements between co-parents come down to lack of planning and poor communication. By attempting to stay organized, a co-parent can do what they can to avoid unnecessary obstacles.
The second benefit to taking a custody schedule seriously is it provides a sense of security to the children involved. Kids are more likely to have feelings of anxiety and depression if they do not know where they will be residing from week to week, or when they will see a parent next. If children have access to a shared calendar, and can clearly see where they will be going, it helps lift a burden off of their shoulders. It also helps avoid making children feel as though they need to choose a side.
These articles can only cover topics in broad strokes. Obviously, every family is different and various personalities and family situations can make situations complicated. Lindsey understands that even with the best of intentions, sometimes co-parenting is extremely difficult. My divorce coaching aims to help a parent generate ideas when communication with a co-parent has broken down, provide short term emotional support, and help brainstorm creative solutions to problems. Divorce coaching is not meant to be mental health therapy. It is a short-term tool to help new or struggling single parents work out issues before taking the serious and expensive step of calling an attorney and going back to court. I coach all clients virtually and work with clients all over the United States. Contact me today if you believe you would benefit from divorce coaching.
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