Sharing Parental Duties After A Breakup

Breaking up with a partner when you have kids together can be tough. Providing no parent is guilty of abuse or neglect, both parents are legally entitled to have access to their kids. You therefore need to find a way of sharing parental duties in a fair and practical manner. Below are some tips for helping you to share time spent with kids.

Try to keep kids together

Unless your kids don’t get on, try not to split kids apart when sharing parental responsibility. Splitting siblings up between two parents causes added disruption to their lives. Most siblings adjust easier when they have each other to express their feelings to.

Think practical when choosing a primary carer

It is usually healthy to have one parent act as the primary carer so that kids are spending the majority of their time at one address. Spending equal time between two addresses can work in some cases, but may create a lack of stability. Of course, deciding which parent gets the most time with their kids isn’t easy. The best way to decide on a primary carer is to focus on the practicalities. Which parent has the most suitable property? Who lives closest to the school? Who has the most money and time to spend with kids? Who has spent the most time with the kids up until now? Answering all these questions can help you to make the right choice.

Stick to a schedule when sharing time with kids

It’s worth having a co-parenting schedule to provide some security. This also makes it easier for you and your kids to plan ahead events and activities. The most common schedule is to have kids staying with one parent on weekdays and then staying with another parent every weekend (or every other weekend). However, you may find another solution works better.

Give plenty of advance warning for parent schedule changes

If you need to temporarily or permanently change the schedule, make sure to give your ex plenty of warning. This could include taking kids on holiday for two weeks or cutting down weekly visits to biweekly visits as kids get older. Last minute changes to a parent schedule could be inconvenient for your ex. If you’re denying access last minute, this could particularly cause problems. Family solicitors may be necessary to hire if you’re having disagreements about rearranging parental schedules.

Don’t let your child be the messenger

As much as you may want to cut communication with your ex, having kids together makes it impossible to sever ties. You need to be willing to talk to them so that you can share essential information about the kids. Some parents are so unwilling to talk to their ex that they use kids as the messenger. This can put pressure on kids to communicate information correctly and can make them feel like they’re in the middle. Talking directly to each other helps to create a strong co-parental partnership that provides stability. Often, if you’re no longer on friendly terms, the best way to approach it is like a business partnership – emotionally detach yourself from one another and focus on what is beneficial for your kids.

Agree on rules and child routines

Finally, it’s important to share some ground rules so that kids aren’t being expected to follow different rules. This could include coming to a shared agreement as to how much screen time kids get, when bedtime is and what foods are allowed at what times. You may also want to follow similar routines such as keeping dinner time to roughly the same time. This can all help to create stability. 

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