Multiple Kids, Multiple Schools: Keeping Things Straight After a Divorce
Juggling two or more kids at multiple schools can be difficult for any family. But the task becomes even more complicated when you and your co-parent have separate households. How do you juggle school pickups and drop-offs? What can you do to keep track of varying bus routes at each house? Who goes to each parent-teacher conference, and who ensures the kids get home from after-school soccer or band practice?
Have a Clear Parenting and Visitation Schedule
The first step in managing two or more crazy timetables is planning. Kids thrive when they have a predictable schedule, and predictability will make life easier for you and your co-parent too. Ensure that you have a clear parenting and visitation schedule in place. That way, everyone knows where the kids will be on any day. A clear visitation schedule will also make it easier to plan weekend activities, vacations, and sick days. If you’ve already addressed “what happens if….?” you’ll find that managing school schedules will be much easier.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
When you have a scheduling conflict with multiple kids, sometimes it may be easier to divide and conquer. If you keep the lines of communication open and everyone informed, it will be easier to ensure that all the kids are covered, and you and your co-parent face less scheduling stress during your custody or visitation time.
Moreover, your kids will be better off if you can work together and communicate now. You may have years of parent-teacher conferences, school concerts, sporting events, plays, and graduations to attend together. Good communication now will set you up for healthy family relationships for years to come. But if attending school events together is uncomfortable right now, ask your children’s teachers if you can set up separate parent-teacher conferences. Most will be happy to accommodate you. You might also consider alternating which of you attends each school’s events, ensuring no one misses out and your kids feel supported.
Scheduling and Parenting Apps
Communication is all well and good, but sometimes we need a method to make sure things like after-school tutoring and piano lessons don’t fall through the cracks. But it isn’t easy to maintain an old-school call calendar or scheduler across two households. Luckily, there are so many options available in the digital age. Some apps will even allow you to share important documents and messages in addition to calendars and visitation schedules.
- Our Family Wizard: Our Family Wizard makes shared communication between parents easy and provides varying access levels for additional family members. The app also allows legal and mental health professionals access in a manner you know is legal and secure. OFW also has a shared information bank and a message board for communication between parents. Users can’t edit, alter, or delete messages on the app, preserving messages for the court, mediators, or legal practitioners and helping to ensure productive communication between co-parents.
- Coparently: In a wonderful example of great communication, a divorced couple created the Coparently app together. Coparently provides a color-coded child custody calendar, a simple expense tracker, and a shared directory with important contacts like the school, babysitter, doctors, and more. The app also has a secure communicator, allowing you to discuss specific events on the calendar or other issues. You can even share access to specific guests like extended family or child caregivers.
- Two Houses: Two Houses has a shared calendar, an expense and reimbursement tracker, and a custody journal. The custody journal allows you to share news, photos, videos, and information about your children with your co-parent.
- Cozi: If your budget for parenting apps is limited, Cozi is a free family organizer. The app has easy-to-use, color-coded shared calendars and will send daily reminder emails to family members, so no one misses an event. You can also share lists, to-dos, and other information.
- Google Calendar: Google Calendar is also a free option, and if you already use this in your personal life, it’s easy to expand your use and create multiple, shared calendars. You can set up each shared calendar so that guests may only view the calendar or may edit, add, and change events for the children.
We Can Help!
If you’re contemplating divorce and anxious about the process, we offer a better way. Communication doesn’t have to be hard, and separation and divorce don’t have to be contentious and stressful. The Miller Law Group is a different kind of law firm, and our focus is on helping you resolve conflicts with dignity. Contact my team at Miller Law Group or call us today to schedule a confidential consultation.