Creating a system of keeping track of events, illnesses, habits and other aspects of your child’s life is essential to co-parenting well after a divorce. Many divorced parents fail to integrate a system of wellness and check-ups into their child’s life after a separation and the results can be disastrous for the child and the parents alike.
While I would never say that I have seen and experienced everything as a family law attorney, I would say that I have witnessed people parent effectively and people parent ineffectively. My goal today is to continue to share what I believe to be the habits of ex-spouses who effectively co-parent after divorce.
A Calendar- digital or on the wall
I remember back in the days when going to the mall was an event, there would be little booths, kiosks and stands set up in the corridors where families would walk up and down in order to move from one store to the next. One of those kiosks was inevitably one where calendars would be sold.
These calendars would usually have themes like football or kittens or marine life. Whatever the theme, there was clearly a time where on the wall calendars were a mainstay for many households.
Flash forward to today and I don’t think this is the case. Outside of my own home, I can’t recall having seen a calendar hanging on anyone’s wall in the past few years. The reason is probably due in large part to the fact that there are online calendars available that serve the same purpose. Your email provider probably gives you access to an online calendar for free, in fact.
Many co-parenting issues come about as a result of poor communication and bad planning. Using a calendar can nip these issues in the bud when it comes to co-parenting your child.
A simple calendar can help you to plan out events up to twelve months in advance. If you are planning a vacation for yourself and your child in June you can fill that in on the calendar so that your ex-spouse has access to and knowledge of the event as soon as you can.
I will note that if your final decree of divorce requires you to provide notice to your ex-spouse in writing of a trip during the summer, you must do so as well. The calendar is just another method for keeping track of everything.
Telling your ex-spouse that you plan on taking your son to the beach for four days in June only leaves so much of an impression. However, showing him on a calendar that stretch of days and highlighting it in yellow leaves a more indelible image and imprint on his brain.
Resolving conflicts through planning
What if that expected beach trip coincided with another event that you had been planning for your child? It would be less than ideal to have the idea of this in mind but to not share it with your ex-spouse until late April. The calendar system allows you to take the calendar map out your year months in advance and hopefully, sidestep avoidable issues like this.
I don’t know how you and your ex-spouse resolve contentious issues. One could surmise that due to the fact that you are now divorced, your methods for conflict resolution probably aren’t great. Despite this, the calendar allows for those discussions to come forth early rather than late.
Reasonable people, of which I assume you are one, can come together to settle disputes with some ease if afforded the time to do so. The calendar provides you time by allowing one another to know how you plan on spending your time with your child during that year.
Getting the calendar ready for January
Major retailers all sell calendars, so when you see a good deal on one go ahead and make the purchase. If you buy this year’s ask your ex-spouse to do the same next year if costs are an issue. Once the calendar gets home take an opportunity after your child is in bed or at the other parent’s home to map out the year. Take your time and take care to make sure that every foreseeable event is planned for.
We tend to get excited about summer trips and the winter holidays, but your child’s school year calendar is probably the most important. Map out the Spring Semester for your ex-spouse based on the information that you are aware of. He or she can do the same once the calendar is turned over to him or her.
Combine the hectic schedules of your child and you and you will quickly find yourself in mess after mess if you cannot anticipate events occurring in your child’s weekly schedule. Sports teams, extracurriculars, school projects, dances, and the list goes on and on. Fail to plan and you should plan to fail.
Next, Summer Vacation should be looked at. If you are the parent with a visitation schedule you should look to make sure that you have provided the requisite notice to your ex-spouse of the time period that you intend to have visitation with your child over the summer.
Once you have met this requirement in writing you should fill in your summer plans on the calendar. This way your ex-spouse can plan for when your child will be gone and can also begin to figure out when he or she will be taking their weekend during your 30 or 42-day visitation stretch in the summer.
You may not have all the information available to you as far as planning the Fall Semester schedule for the following school year but you may have some dates that can be filled in. Once you find out the schedule for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks you can fill those in along with which parent has what parts of the Christmas holiday.
Taking calendaring to the next level
All of these tips are tricks are helpful in and of themselves as far as I’m concerned. However, I can share with you some “next level” tips as far as helping you take the fullest advantage of the help that a calendar can provide you with.
First of all, if you are the parent who is designated as being the one who should prepare the calendar you should have a deadline to send the calendar over to your ex-spouse for their review. Likewise, your ex-spouse should have a deadline by which he or she needs to turn the calendar back to you. This way he or she will be made to review the calendar immediately. Questions or concerns about any marks made within that calendar can be addressed sooner rather than later.
Any conflicts or problems with the schedule can be addressed and negotiated upon. Once a final resolution is arrived at, a final draft should be done where both you and your ex-spouse can keep a copy in your respective homes. That calendar should be kept out someplace handy so that you both and your child can review it with ease. A year is a pretty long time, so I’ve been told. If you need a refresher just look at your calendar and it will hold all the answers you need.
Medical Situations Examined in tomorrow’s blog post
In situations where medical attention is needed for your child, or if you find yourself in a medical emergency, proper communication is essential to everyone’s well being. With this said, the family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan hope you can return tomorrow to read more about this subject in particular.
If you have questions about this subject please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A free of charge consultation is available to you with one of our licensed family law attorneys six days a week.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- Co-parenting: Assisting your child in their post-divorce life
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- How Does Summertime Visitation Work for Divorced Parents in Texas?
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