Three Ways To Share Parenting Duties Even If You Aren't The Custodial Parent

Posted on: 16 November 2015

Figuring out child custody during a divorce isn't easy, even in an amicable situation. As the noncustodial parent, you will have to deal with not being around your children every day when you get home from work or when they get home from school. Fortunately, there are several ways you can still be a big part of their lives while taking some of the day-to-day work of parenting off of your former spouse. Use these ideas to help create an arrangement that works for you, your former spouse and your children.

School Pickup/Drop-Off

Arrange to be the person who either picks the kids up from school every afternoon or drops them off every morning. This lets your children get to spend a bit of quality time with you every day while allowing your former spouse a little time to get ready for work, run errands or handle housework. If you arrange to pick the kids up from school, try to plan a special activity with them at least once every week. You can take them to the library to study, to the park to play or to a restaurant for an early dinner, which gives you even more time to see them. Work with your divorce attorney on getting this worked into the custody arrangement, and consider asking for at least one overnight stay each week so you can have one weeknight with your kids.

Be The Babysitter

Instead of allowing your ex to hire a babysitter for a night out or an extra shift at work, make arrangements to be the go-to babysitter for the kids. This will save your former spouse a bit of money while making sure he or she has a safe, reliable person staying with the children. If at all possible, arrange to spend time with them at their primary residence so the kids don't feel like they are being shuffled back and forth as much. Your former spouse won't be home, so there may not be any objections to this. Your attorney can help you negotiate this point in your custody settlement; you may even be able to make the argument in court that you should be the first choice for all babysitting situations to prevent strangers from watching your children instead of you.

Handle Sports Or Dance Classes

If your children are enrolled in extracurricular activities, such as soccer or dance, consider being the person who takes them to their activities each week. Your ex will appreciate not having to coordinate all of the activities, and you can spend extra time watching your kids do something they love. If classes for each child overlap, you and your former spouse can switch taking each child so you can both get to watch your children practice. While this doesn't need to be worked into the custody arrangement, you may be able to negotiate with your ex by offering to pay for the classes you take the kids to. Your lawyer can help you to determine whether or not the cost of classes should be part of your monthly support or an additional expense you cover for the kids.

Talk to your divorce lawyer about getting these and other special plans in place in the custody settlement so they are non-negotiable. While you may not have full custody, using these unique ideas can give your children access to both parents throughout the week. This can help them to feel like you are still a family, even though you are no longer all living together.