Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Sharing custody can mean agreeing to parent at the same time, too

Co-parenting, which involves two adults working together but separately to raise their children, is an increasingly popular outcome for modern divorces. Courts view shared parenting responsibilities as in the best interest of the children, in most cases. Given that the desired outcome in a divorce is one that limits the negative impact on children, it is only natural and reasonable that the courts in Virginia what to split parenting responsibilities between both parents.

You may have already accepted the fact that you will need to see your ex during custody exchanges. However, have you considered the likelihood of needing to share parenting time on certain days? As the school year gets fully underway, kids will be coming home with announcements of joining sports teams, trying out for the school play and competing in academic events, such as robotics leagues.

Some parents try to divvy up those special events as part of their parenting plan. However, you may want to consider whether sharing those special events will really be what's best for the kids.

If you can both be there, your child will feel more supported

Going out to compete in a public space can be thrilling and teach your child about the joys of competition and teamwork. Still, it is natural for kids and adults alike to experience nervousness before public performances or competitions.

Having their own section of cheerleaders, meaning people who have their back regardless of the outcome, can give them the confidence they need to perform at their best. For a child of a divorced family, having only one parent present at every special event can feel like a major letdown, especially if they see their peers cheered on by whole families.

You and your ex should try to talk about whether you can put your differences aside and focus on your kids during special events. If you can sit in the gym or auditorium together without arguing and keep the focus on your kid, everyone in your family will benefit.

Consider expanding that attitude into holidays and birthdays

Special school events, sporting competitions and award ceremonies aren't the only time that your child wants to see both parents at the same time. Kids also want to feel grounded in a strong sense of family on major holidays and when they celebrate their birthday.

It is common for parents to alternate holidays and birthdays. When it comes to who hosts and where the child sleeps, keeping that alternating schedule may be the easiest way to handle the issue. However, both parents can contribute to the cost associated with parties and gifts. Also, if it is possible, all the kids in your family will likely enjoy it if both parents can be present for major holiday celebrations. Obviously, this requires both calm communication and compromise.

While it may require extra work, there is little question that the children in your family will benefit from you and your ex trying to put the kids before your conflict.

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Richmond, VA 23230

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