02 November 2013

Life in Co-Parenting

I live in Florida. And when it comes to custody and visitation (which is strictly referred to as "timesharing" in the court system), Florida's model is to start at 50/50 and work from there based on circumstances. The parents come up with a parenting agreement that covers issues such as education, religion, expenses, and the timesharing schedule. It is meant to be as equal as possible, allowing both parents to take an active role in the children's lives.

Monty and I are operating on a 50/50 timesharing/parenting model. In our arrangement, the kids spend a week with one parent, then the next week with the other parent. Holidays are on a rotating schedule, and we each get two uninterrupted weeks in the summer. Because we both have the munchkins half the time, we split expenses 50/50, as well.

It sounds weird to someone who isn't familiar with Florida's method, but it's working well for us. I get the kids for a week (including the weekend since we exchange on Sunday evenings), so the kids know where they are every day that week. There's no back and forth throughout the week. In terms of a divorced family, the kids have stability in our arrangement.

It's working well for us.

What's most important to me is that whatever we do works for the kids, and is healthy for them. I know people have their own opinions about divorce and parenting separately and timesharing and what's appropriate for families after a divorce. But each family is different, and each circumstance surrounding the divorce is different. Each family needs to find what works for them and their children, regardless of what others say "should" be done.

I've known families in which the parents can't be in the same room and have to exchange children with a neutral party present. I've known families in which the husband remarried, and the ex-wife is friends with the second wife, and they all have holiday meals together. Two vastly different experiences, but each is what is possible in those families.

I don't know where in that spectrum Monty and I will be as we get settled into this new part of our lives. But as long as it works for the kids, and they're happy and healthy, I'll be fine with it.

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