Sharing parenting time and decision-making authority with your co-parent will be a challenge. Still, if the two of you commit to working together, it can be a productive and functional arrangement. It is best for the kids to have both of you involved in their lives, and minimizing conflict is also better for the children.
Once you decide on a basic division of time, you can then establish a schedule that works for your family’s specific needs. With a predictable schedule, there will be less risk of conflict and disagreements. You also need to think about days that will deviate from your normal schedule.
Holidays and birthdays are very important to children, which means they deserve special consideration when you create your parenting plan. How should you share special days?
You can either divide the holidays or share them
If you and your ex have yet to find a comfortable co-parenting relationship, then you may not be ready to spend a lot of time together yet. You can divide the holidays and alternate which year you spend them with the children. For example, this year the children spend Thanksgiving with you and then Christmas with your ex. Then next year the children would spend Christmas with you.
If you have maintained an amicable relationship through your breakup or divorce, you may be able to continue having the entire family get together for birthdays and major holidays. The children will likely appreciate having both parents together to celebrate if that won’t result in arguments or tension. You might decide to divide the holidays now and revisit the approach in another year or two.
Creating effective shared custody arrangements will reduce future conflict for your family.