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Youth Sports Can Complicate Your Co-Parenting Relationship, But Only If You Let Them


Even if your relationship with your spouse is stable, children’s participation in sports can be a source of stress for everyone.  As much as you tell yourself that it is only a game and that the important thing is for your child to have fun, competitive sports can bring out the worst in everyone.  Even if you don’t take it personally when your child’s team doesn’t win, keeping track of all that sports equipment is stressful.  Driving too and from all those practices and games is time-consuming, and the whole endeavor is not cheap.  When parents get divorced, sports participation can be a source of continuity and stability for children, but it can also be a point of contention in the divorce case and in your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse after the divorce becomes final.  For help drafting a parenting plan for young athletes, contact a Boca Raton child custody lawyer.

Accounting for Children’s Sports Participation in a Parenting Plan

If you have minor children, the court cannot finalize your divorce without issuing a parenting plan; most couples agree on the terms of the parenting plan during mediation, and the judge only signs off on what the parents decided.  The parenting plan addresses non-financial aspects of co-parenting, including which parent is with the children on which days of the year, who has the final decision about extracurricular activities such as sports, and arrangements for transporting the children from one parent’s house to the other.

Your child’s sports schedule will be a consideration in your parenting plan.  For example, Mom might drop off the child at Saturday morning baseball practice, and Dad might pick him up after practice and bring him back to Mom’s house on Sunday evening.  If siblings play different sports, or if the same child plays different sports at different times of year, scheduling can get complicated.  The law considers sports participation a discretionary expense, not a necessity, so the parent whose wish for the child to continue playing sports usually bears the majority of responsibility for paying for the child’s sports participation.

Don’t Make Your Child’s Sports Activities a Proxy for Your Drama With Your Ex-Spouse

Youth sports alone will not make or break your co-parenting relationship.  If you and your ex are generally on the same page about co-parenting, this also applies to your children’s sports participation.  If work schedules allow, both parents should attend children’s sports games and tournaments, regardless of whose parenting time it is.  Whatever you do, do not put your child’s coaches or your child’s teammates’ parents in the middle of your co-parenting conflicts with your ex-spouse.

Contact Schwartz | White About Co-Parenting the Next Generation of Athletes

A South Florida family law attorney can help you draft or revise a parenting plan that accounts for your children’s participation in youth sports, whether on a school team or a community-based team.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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