Parents who are trying to work out a custody arrangement often find themselves disagreeing about seemingly simple matters. But, it is undeniable that sharing parental responsibilities and meeting children’s needs can be much more challenging when adults live in two separate households.
Oftentimes, parents want as much time as possible with their children, but inevitably there will be a need for outside childcare support even when parents share custody. Childcare needs can frequently lead to disputes that put strain on co-parenting relationships unless people have rules and plans in place ahead of time addressing childcare matters. For example, these three childcare considerations often lead to conflict during custody negotiations.
The desire to avoid childcare, if possible
Placing children in a professional facility or leaving them with a family member can be expensive. It is also a source of risk for the children to experience abuse or neglect. Typically, being with the parents is the best option. Those preparing to co-parent may want to add the right of first refusal to their custody plan so that the other parent always has the opportunity to take the kids before they go to a babysitter or daycare center.
The selection of childcare providers
Someone who watches the children could make mistakes that lead to injury or that traumatize the kids. Parents, therefore, have a vested interest in limiting who has time alone with and authority over their children. In some cases where there is a history of problems with the extended family, people may specifically prohibit certain childcare providers or agree to a list of limited options. Talking ahead of time about who will watch the children can reduce friction when the children require outside care.
Covering childcare costs
Often, people approach childcare costs by expecting the parent who has the children at the time that they require care to cover those expenses. However, when one parent has the children far more than the other, that might place an unfair burden on them and diminish their economic opportunities. Parents often need to talk about how they will cover the costs of routine childcare expenses.
When those preparing for the end of a relationship and transitioning to co-parenting arrangements discuss childcare needs and other issues ahead of time, they can create parenting plans that more effectively meet the needs of their family. Identifying issues that parents need to address when negotiating child custody matters can help them reach arrangements that can help to limit the risk of future conflict.