Timesharing In the New Year. How to Make Things More Peaceful
Peace on earth and a Happy New Year is wished to many from family and friends. However, for those who have minor children (children born or adopted to the couple from birth to age 18 and beyond if a child cannot support themselves for physical or mental reasons) and have gone through a divorce, there is often not such a peaceful outlook for the new year. Unfortunately, both for the parents and the children, there is often little peace when it comes to timesharing. Timesharing is how most courts now handle who and where the child will sleep each night. Primary custody, where one parent has the minor child except for visitation by the other parent, is no longer used to determine the care and nurturing of minor children. There are some exceptions to parental timesharing, but for the majority of parents, there is a judge’s order in place dividing the time, including overnights, a minor child spends with each parent. Timesharing for special times such as birthdays and holidays is spelled out in the parenting plan required for each divorce where minor children are involved.
As the details for timesharing are clearly written in the final divorce decree, it is sad to find many parents continually having problems with following what the judge has ordered. Parents will pretend a child is sick; argue the child doesn’t want to go with the other parent; create stumbling blocks to pick-up and drop-off arrangements, and refuse to bend when the other parent needs help in an emergency. Some parents blatantly ignore the timesharing ruling. While it is possible to take the offending parent to court, this is expensive and time-consuming. There are, however, some tips for making the timesharing plan work if both parents will agree.
- As soon as the divorce is over, parents should, as best as possible, speak about how each will honor the required timesharing order.
- Make pick-up and drop-off times and locations as convenient as possible for each parent. Trying to hurt the other parent by creating a difficult exchange routine, in the end, hurts the child more.
- Try to be respectful of each other, especially in front of your children. Again, arguing and unpleasant scenes hurt the children more than you. In other words, try to “keep the peace.”
- Realize both parents love their children. It has been proven that children develop into better-adjusted adults if loved and nurtured by both parents.
- Have a communication method in place between child and parent and between parents. Decide on times for phoning and texting and try not to forget those times. Some families also do face time at some point during the timesharing.
- When the parent remarries or brings a significant other into their life, hopefully, this person will be understanding of the ordered timesharing arrangements. Having, in a sense, two sets of parents to cherish them can make the loss of the original family unit less hurtful.
- Be flexible when one parent needs help due to an emergency. Have in place who will care for the child when a parent can’t.
- Try to plan trips and vacations around the timesharing arrangements but be flexible if a parent needs some temporary adjusting of the schedule. For example, if a child is on a trip with one parent and the plane flight back is canceled or delayed, hopefully, the other parent can accept that and not make an issue out of it.
All in all, it is up to both parents to create a peaceful, happy new year when it comes to handling parental timesharing. True, it may take work, holding tempers, and putting the child first, but It can be done. In the end, all will benefit, especially the child.