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Being a Part-Time Parent in a Full-Time Way

By Nottage and Ward on February 19, 2013

According to Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D, family therapist and licensed psychologist, many professionals and parents alike hate the word “visiting” as it often is applied to the non-custodial parent. Accepting being referred to as the “visiting” parent is like accepting that parenting is no longer a shared responsibility after divorce. In the past, being given “visitation” with your children meant every other weekend and some holidays. That arrangement has been undergoing change during the last 20 years or so.

Courtesy of The Huffington Post, Ms. Hartwell-Walker explains that today, child custody arrangements are more equitable with parents sharing in parenting time with their children. Children may stay with parents every other week or may go back and forth every few days. Other more creative arrangements are also possible today in order to create a child sharing agreement that feels fair.

Being a part-time parent after a divorce does not have to mean that you cannot still be in your children’s lives in a full-time way. It takes some planning to remain emotionally close when there are times when you must be physically apart. Ms. Hartwell-Walker offers the following advice:

  • Do a daily check-in—just hearing your voice and knowing you are listening to the news of the day makes a difference to children.
  • Use the electronic world of Facebook, Twitter, texting, and Skype to just randomly share. Parents are using Skype to read bedtime stories to their children.
  • Be supportive of each other as parents by being flexible in allowing changes to the ordinary visiting schedule.
  • If it is workable, live close to one another. Children do better when they can easily go back and forth between the two parents’ homes.

Divorce is a complex, stressful, and emotional process that does not end with the signing of documents. When children are involved, both parents make their children their first priority. Unfortunately children are at the heart of many family law disagreements. Since 1988, the Illinois family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward have excelled in negotiating and litigating matters of family law. Call us at (312) 332-2915 to schedule a meeting where you may discuss your divorce in confidence.

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