While you may run into occasional traffic, make sure that you allow ample time to account for traffic or anything else that may cause you to delay. If you know you need to meet at 6:00 pm and are 15 minutes away from the location, don’t wait until 15 minutes beforehand to get the kids packed up and ready to go.
Pick a neutral place to meet.
While it may seem more convenient to have exchanges at your home, finding a neutral location where you both need to meet can create a more peaceful exchange. If you and your ex have constant conflict, having a mutual place to meet means less likeliness of getting into an argument. Additionally, when both parents have to travel to meet, neither of you can complain about driving to meet because you both are doing it, not just one of you. You also will avoid your ex being able to inquire about your home or asking to come inside if you don’t feel comfortable with that. Having a public place to meet avoids any of these concerns.
Limit Last minute changes.
While sickness can undoubtedly require a last-minute change request, please do your best to limit them. In most instances, you know ahead of time of birthday parties, funerals, work trips, and school events, so if a change needs to be requested, do so as soon as you know about the event. You have to give the other parent enough notice so that they to can shift their plans. Unexpected changes can cause stress and create additional tension between you that won’t help you have an excellent co-parenting relationship. No one likes throwing a last-minute wrench into their plans, so do all you can to avoid those last-minute requests.
Be willing to compromise.
While you may have gone through a difficult breakup, divorce, or custody battle, it is time to put those feelings behind you and move on. Although you will have a parenting agreement or court order that addresses the custody schedule, be willing to compromise on what is written on paper. This doesn’t mean changing the entire schedule at your ex’s request. It does mean swapping a weekend to allow your child to attend their great grandma’s 90th birthday party or to accommodate your ex having to travel for a business trip. While your initial reaction may be an immediate no to any request, before answering, remember that there may come a time when you need to request a change. Affording the willingness to compromise can go a long way in your co-parenting relationship.
Do Not Question or Compare Your Children’s Time with your Ex.
As parents, we always want to know what is happening with our kids, but the minute your kids get back home isn’t the time to interrogate them to inquire about every detail of what they did when they weren’t with you. Allow your kids time to decompress. A simple “I missed you” is enough. You don’t want your kids to feel put in the middle of their parents. Let them come to you to share what they did, how they felt, or anything they want to about their time without you around.
Additionally, do not compare your time and pass judgment.
This will quickly lead to a competition of which parent can do the most or have the best fun when you have your child. Taking your child roller skating or to the movies is always fun, but it isn’t something you need to do every single time you are with them. And don’t compare the time your child spends with each of you. This isn’t a competition but a time for you to build your relationship with your child, so focus on that, not what your ex is doing with them.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The Firm practices family law, estate planning, and probate throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, and represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country. The Firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone and is there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The Firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and its attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.