How To Handle Children’s Clothing Issues While Co-parenting After Divorce
One often overlooked aspect of divorce and sharing time with children is that the children have to basically live in two different places, even when they are spending time with a parent for a short time. This means that the children may need to have toys, clothes and other personal belongings at both locations at any given time. This can sometimes cause problems for the child, who may not always remember where a favorite item was last left, but it can also cause problems between the parents.
In most cases, the parent who has primary custody of the child is expected to provide things like clothes and shoes for the child. The problem arises when the parent provides these items and packs extra when the child is leaving to spend time with the other parent, but never receives the clothes back when the child returns home. This may not seem like a major issue, but to the custodial parent, it may become frustrating to continue buying clothes because the other parent will not return what is sent to them.
On the other hand, the non-custodial parent, who in some cases may have been ordered to pay child support, may feel that because he or she pays child support, the other parent should provide all clothing and replace any items that are not returned.
The best way to deal with an issue such as this is to have a discussion with the other parent. As parents, you can agree that the clothes a child has when the child visits should be returned at the end of the parenting time. Alternatively, the parents can agree that a comparable selection of clothes will be sent back to balance the child’s wardrobe out between both homes. Parents can also have specific terms spelled out in their parenting plan on how they should handle this issue, especially if the parents would otherwise be unable to reach an amicable solution.
To foster a good relationship, parents should also consider taking steps such as doing laundry so as to avoid sending back dirty clothes for the other parent to wash. Unless both parents agree that this is unnecessary.
It goes without saying that the children should never be put in the middle of a dispute over their items being withheld between the parents. The child may already be having difficulty adjusting to the idea of living in two different spaces, and may not handle the added stress of having to track their belongings between houses. The parents should try to avoid asking the children to be in charge of ensuring certain clothes are kept at a particular location.
Contact an Experienced Timesharing Lawyer
When you are co-parenting with a former spouse, things may arise after the divorce is finalized that you would not have thought would become a major issue. This is why it is important to discuss any parenting agreement with an experienced child custody lawyer, and have legal representation as you resolve issues related to your children in a divorce. For more information on how we can help, contact our experienced child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida.