coParenting “Business Meetings”: Updating Your Custody Agreement
coParents work well together when they have protocols for both routine and non-routine communication and a way to document joint custody agreements and plans. Here is some guidance on these necessary communication components to make coParenting smoother and easier as you care for your children.
Joint Custody Business Meetings
The “Tri-Annual coParenting Joint Custody Business Meeting” serves many needs for planning, decision-making and designating tasks. Effective coParenting requires coordination and planning. Attempting to manage the many details, decisions, and schedule exceptions through daily (even weekly) contact often results in many more communications than feels comfortable. On top of that, there’s also the difficulty of keeping all the messages straight! The Tri-Annual Business Meeting was designed to increase effective planning and decrease the back-and-forth that often results in miscommunication and conflict.
We recommend that coParents develop a rhythm and consistency of meetings about joint custody agreements and plans in August, January and March (adjustable). The meetings have specific agendas.
- August: Plan the school year from September through early January. This includes discussion regarding holidays, days off from school, academic requirements, fall and early winter extracurricular activities, health care appointments, and any other specific residential, kid, or parent considerations occurring in the fourth-month arc.
- January: Similarly, sit down together to plan the second semester of school. This agenda includes mid-winter and spring break plans, holidays, days off from school, school events, health care appointments, kid, or parent considerations occurring in the second semester through end of school.
- March: This is your summer planning meeting. coParents can determine the best time for this meeting according to scheduling needs; some coParents may prefer earlier, others later. You’ll plan vacations, summer events, camps and day-care considerations to the extent that you can. This also gives coParents a chance to check in on academic performance and the spring activity/sport/extracurricular planning.
Once these custody agreements and plans are set, the task of coParenting your children can be the focus of your relationship, rather than the making of plans.