By Robin Perrigo-Mermans, Esq. of ROAD to RESOLUTION
The summer season is a time for families to spend time quality time together to have fun and unwind. For co-parents and divorced parents, it takes a lot of organization and coordination to get to the relaxation part. As a divorce mediation and family law attorney who is also a mother and stepmother, I know the ins and outs of healthy co-parenting. I’ve been helping families create shared parenting agreements for over a decade.
Here are my top five suggestions for co-parents to keep their cool this summer, even if the challenges get hot:
My family and I use the winter months to plan for the upcoming summer months. We use that time to talk to our parenting partners and then make trip reservations. We work around several family schedules to coordinate the best time for our family to take a vacation with all five of our children. We also work with our parenting partners to discuss the best times for their vacations and other family obligations and commitments. This will be our twelfth year of coordinating summers together, so we have it down to a science.
Co-parenting coordination means paying close attention to the details. This comes down to times, locations, and logistics. Being detail oriented will help you stay organized and lessen the stress that comes with planning.
Things happen and surprises come up. This is common with children’s schedules just as much as a parent’s schedule. For instance, if your child plays a summer sport and a game gets moved to another date or time, you may need to adjust your co-parenting schedule. Give grace to your parenting partner because you never know when you’ll need it too.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Even if you think something concerning your children isn’t that important, share it with your parenting partner anyway. From activities that require a parental waiver to a minor injury resulting in a visit to the doctor. This is a great practice not only for the summer season, but all year round.
While you and your parenting partner may have clear expectations, it’s important to set these for your children too. Giving your child guidance on what you expect from them in terms of communication, behavior, and reliability will allow a positive experience for all co-parents involved. This includes calling to check in, communicating any changes in their personal schedule, posting appropriately on social media, or being ready for a scheduled drop-off or pick-up.
Note: This feature is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.
Robin Perrigo-Mermans is a collaborative attorney and certified mediator. She owns ROAD to RESOLUTION, a divorce mediation and collaborative family law firm, in Charlotte. Due to her unique perspective as an attorney, mother, and stepmother, she is an expert in shared parenting solutions and co-parenting guidance. She is committed to using her personal story and passion to help her clients save time and money, while avoiding unnecessary emotional turmoil during their divorce journey and on their road to resolution.