Managing Logistics after Divorce
It’s done. You’ve moved out of your marital home and are living without a partner for the first time in years. You might be surprised at how big an adjustment living solo is–especially if you have to deal with school-age children. There’s so much to juggle: drop-offs, pick-ups, babysitters, after-school activities, sick days, and, of course, the brave new world of custody-sharing or visitations.
It can be a challenging time, but you’ll quickly adapt to this new life with a bit of organization. Here are four tips to help you manage your post-divorce logistics with ease.
- Develop an effective communication plan with your ex.
Kid-related logistics can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t establish a consistent, effective way of communicating with your ex. Come to a clear agreement about how you will communicate, whether by phone calls, texts, or emails, as soon as possible. Also, agree to keep each other promptly and fully informed about the children’s schedules and activities. Open communication with your co-parent is critical to smoothing your kids’–and your own–transition to this new life. Be sure to make it a priority.
- Keep an online family calendar.
A shared family calendar will allow you and your ex to keep track of all family members’ schedules without having to contact each other daily. These will enable you to schedule extra-curricular activities, parent-teacher conferences, homework and project deadlines, medical appointments, school events, vacations, carpools, babysitter pick-ups, and more. It’ll also allow you to note when you have important dates that your co-parent needs to know about, such as days when you have business travel or a family celebration/event that might clash with the original parenting plan.
Dozens of online calendars are on the market. Look for a calendar that operates on both Apple and Android so that everyone in the family can use it. Make sure you choose one that allows you to assign each family member a color to identify each person’s schedule at a glance.
- Establish a routine
Routines help children feel more secure and less anxious, particularly after emotional upheavals such as divorce and moving house. Keep the school routine as consistent as possible so that your child knows what to expect in your home and can feel reassured that everything is under control. Be sure to share this routine with your ex, particularly regarding pick-up and drop-up, so that they’re in the loop at all times. Creating a household routine, such as setting dinner time, bath time, and bedtime, will further reassure your children (though they may complain!) and make your life easier. Do not, however, expect that your co-parent will have the same routine. While it would be nice to have the exact same schedules, it is not reasonable to expect your habits to work in their household.
- Develop an emergency plan
Emergencies are an unfortunate fact of life. People get sick, cars break down, homes flood. And then, there are the terrible unpredictable events that turn life upside down: school shootings, motor vehicle accidents, tornados, fires, and more. An emergency is no time to bicker about who is responsible for what–you and your ex need to have a solid plan covering a range of situations. For example, you’ll need to:
- Designate someone to pick up your child from school or activity if you both are unavailable;
- Identify at least two reunification places (e.g., the library, church, a friend’s house, etc.) where your child should go in the event that neither of you nor your emergency contact can collect them, and they cannot get to either of your homes.
- Name someone from outside of your area to serve as a contact person if you cannot get in contact with one another.
- Make sure that both of you have a copy of the plan, and that all designated persons know their roles and responsibilities. Your child, too, should understand the plan.
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