This is a list of decisions you may need to make with the other parent. Considering these will make life easier for you and your children. Be flexible and keep your child’s interests in mind.
Agree on the easy things first and return to the hard ones later. Good luck!
Where will the children live?
During school terms
During school holidays
Over Christmas and other special days
If you are sick
If your child is sick
Use diaries to record decisions and be specific about dates and periods of time.
How will you arrange?
Pickups and drop-offs
Birthdays or other cultural/religious events
Attendance at special events like school sports day. Can you both go?
Contact with grandparents and any other extended family
Contact and overnight stays with the children’s friends
Calls/emails from one parent while the child is with their other parent
Transport arrangements: between homes/ to school/ dance/ sport etc.
Where will they attend?
Church/ mosque/ temple/ synagogue or other spiritual/ religious place
Review your arrangements occasionally. Don’t set them in concrete. Agree on a period of notice if you want to change contact arrangements.
Between you and their other parent: Who will pay for the kids’…?
Transport between your homes
Health care/health insurance/dentist and orthodontist/ glasses/ contact lenses/ counseling, etc.
Extracurricular activities/excursions/ socials/ pocket money
Long distance transport. Airfares/ trains/ buses
How will you share information?
Medical records including details of any medication
Information on visits to doctor/dentist/counsellors etc.
Information on important events: sporting/ religious/ special activities/ news of extended family etc.
Try to agree:
To share phone numbers in case you need to contact children.
To inform the other parent about any changes to important phone
How to make changes to any of these arrangements.
To work towards a consistent approach to discipline.
Can you agree not to:
Put the other parent down to the children.
Make big changes like moving house, changing schools without prior
Plan activities during their other parent’s time.
Make decisions that have important cultural or religious implications.
Argue in front of the kids.
Of course, this Parenting decision-making checklist is not exhaustive and there will always be unique circumstances to every family. It is important to consider all of the options that may affect a child’s life so that everyone can be in agreeance (or at least consider) the circumstances of each other.
For help with Family Court mediation in Mackay and surrounding areas, we’re here to assist you to reach an amicable resolution.