This can help you to:
- work out a co-parenting arrangement
- relate better with your ex-partner and make things easier on your teen
What's the process?
It can be hard to know where to start when you separate from your partner.
- See if you can work out how to share time with your kids between yourselves. If you’re on good terms, organise a sit-down and use a task organiser like Trello to help sort-out who’s doing what.
- Use mediation if things are tense between you or you just want an impartial party involved. You can use a private mediator or go through a family relationship centre.
- Get some advice from a solicitor, legal aid or community legal centre to make sure things are fair
- Go through family court if mediation doesn’t work out, or there was violence in your relationship. Your solicitor can sort this out for you.
Keep your teen in mind
- When you’re organising the schedule, keep your teen and other kids at the centre of it all. Talk to your teen about what might suit their schedule. For example, does Mon-Thurs at one parent’s make sense because their place is near school, and Fri-Sun at the other’s make sense because his place is near footy practice?
- Try to keep arrangements simple and try and keep things as normal as possible, like keeping teens at the same school or finding a new place in the same suburb.
- If there’s conflict between you and your ex-partner, it’s best to talk to your ex-partner directly. A text or an email will do, decide on a way of communicating that works for you both. Don’t use your teen as a messenger or ask them to report on what you’re ex is up to. It’s very stressful and upsetting if they feel they have to take sides.
What to do to make things go smoothly
Run through this checklist to help you stay on track:
- Plan and decide on things in advance – what’s going to happen for birthdays, holidays or school events like plays or sport?
- Work out who’ll go to medical appointments and how information will get passed on to all parents and carers
- Keep your teen in the loop about any plans, especially changes
- Try and be flexible, within reason
- Don’t bad-mouth your ex in front of your teen
- Be prepared to miss your kids, it will get better with time
- Find creative ways to communicate with your ex-partner – shared Outlook calendars, Google drive, Trello, Whatsapp