If you share custody of your children, you’ll want to spend as much of your allocated parenting time with them as possible. However, you’ll probably still need a babysitter from time to time. If one or both of you is moving to another part of the city, your current babysitter may no longer be able to take care of your kids.
Child care professionals recommend that divorced parents have one babysitter who can take care of their kids in both homes if possible. It helps provide consistency for the children. Whether you choose one caregiver or you need to have separate ones for each home, it’s best if you choose them together. It’s also wise to discuss what your expectations are for them and to codify them in your parenting plan.
What kinds of things should co-parents discuss?
When it comes to third-party caregivers, here are some things that are worth agreeing on as you work out your parenting plan, custody and support agreements.
- Will you each have the first right of refusal to take care of your kids before your co-parent calls the babysitter?
- What rules will be consistent in both homes?
- What can the babysitter say to your kids (if anything) about either of you or the divorce? What should they do if the kids ask them?
- Will the cost of the sitter be factored into your child support agreement?
- At what point does one parent have to give permission if the other parent starts using another sitter?
Some of these things are worth discussing, even if your third-party caregivers are going to be family members, friends or neighbors. That’s particularly true when it comes to people talking to your kids about your divorce and enforcing consistent rules and expectations in both homes. It’s often best to iron these things out while you’re in the divorce process and have trusted legal guidance.