Keeping track of the kids: Child Custody tips in Charlotte and North Carolina
Going through a divorce is difficult for any family. Parents go through an emotional and financial rollercoaster as they try to figure out what lives will look like after everything is either settled or litigated in front of a judge. I find that most divorcing spouses haven’t planned for the turmoil in their lives. One of the most chaotic parts of divorce that spouses manage poorly is what happens with the custody schedule for the kids. On top of these challenges, add COVID-19 to the mix in 2020! As August is here and the new school year has already started, check out these tips to make your life and the lives of your children easier.
- Ditch the paper calendar when communicating.
Paper is great when the only person you have to manage is yourself. You have to coordinate children, schedules, virtual learning, pods for kids, and former spouses. Instead of paper, use technology to save your life.
Here are some ways:
- Free Option: Google calendar. You can make a separate sub-calendar with your gmail account. One calendar can be all your “personal” stuff that you don’t share. A second calendar can be a “custody” calendar that you share with the other parent, the parents of your child’s pad, (and the children themselves!). These calendars are easily accessible from any smartphone, as well.
These calendars also allow you to “share” without letting others add dates. For instance, you can share the calendar with grandparents, uncles and aunts who are there to help you out during these trying time. Those folks can see the calendar, but they can’t add content.
You can add reminders, events, documents, modifications of the schedule, and notes. Here’s a tutorial from Google: http://support.google.com/calendar/?hl=en#topic=6076998
- Paid Option: Our Family Wizard. A great option is Our Family Wizard (https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/) for $99 per parent.
These services will do what Google calendar does, and a ton more! There are shared calendars, journals, expense logs, message boards, and information banks. This app works on any smartphone. For those families that never seem to escape the court system, you can also give access to attorneys or other professionals as you see fit. An amazing feature is also the ToneMeter™, which tells you when message to the other parent need to be reworded!
You can find a description of the features here: https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/product-features.
- Print it for yourself
If you can’t completely let go of the paper calendar, go ahead and print it when everything is finalized on the electronic calendar. It’s ok to print, even though you’re killing a tree.
- Plan in Advance.
The kids are going back to school. You go to ‘Back-to-School’ sales and plan what the kids need, right? Do the same with the annual schedule, even though COVID-19 has destroyed the ability to plan far in advance.
- Go get the school calendar. The Mecklenburg County Schedule is here: https://www.cms.k12.nc.us/communications/calendars/Pages/Calendars.aspx
Figure out which parent is supposed to get each holiday, teacher workday, and vacation day from now until June 2021. Then, send an email to the other parent asking to confirm. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Figure out your work schedule.
If you travel for work, now’s the perfect time to get your travel schedule, if available. Communicate this schedule to the other parent. Even though your order says “10 days advance notice”, why would you wait that long? Decrease the conflict in your life. Also tell the other parent your job’s new travel policy. Since everything has changed, some parents are still flying. Others are grounded indefinitely. If you want to remove unnecessary conflict in your life, communicate even though you may not want to!
- Review your Order/Agreement
Take 30 minutes and review your court order or parenting agreement every single year. There may be something you forgot, or something that changes, or something critical that you’re missing. It won’t hurt to revisit the document that is supposed to govern your children’s lives.
- DO IT NOW
Life for kids gets crazy when they go back to school. Don’t wait until one month into school to implement these tips. If you wait, you will never do it. Give yourself a 7-day deadline to get these tasks done.
- What did I miss? What are your tips for creating better harmony? Share your personal knowledge so everyone can have better relationships for the sake of their kids!