Co-Parenting & Sports
Many children are involved in sports to build character, learn about teamwork, and simply for the fun of the game. However, supporting your children in their extracurricular activities is easier said than done when you share the responsibility with your ex. Co-parenting your children through extracurricular activities, like sports, music lessons, art classes, and so on, can be difficult at times. You must decide:
- Who pays for what
- Which days your children can practice and who takes them
- Whether you and your co-parent can attend the same games and recitals
In any case, negotiating these issues is certainly doable, it just might take a bit of extra effort.
As a parent, when your kids want to pursue a certain sport or start a new activity, you want to support their goals. However, it is important that you and your co-parent handle sports and other activities as a unit to better serve the interests of your children.
Tips for Negotiation
When negotiating extracurricular activities, consider discussing these main points:
- Are your children interested in this sport or activity? Will it benefit them?
- How will the activity be paid for? Will it be split between both parents or will one parent be paying for it?
- Will both parents be involved in maintaining and encouraging this sport or activity? For example, 10 minutes of piano practice each day, finishing art assignments, extra practice time for soccer, etc.
- When will the lessons or practices take place? Will the children’s time with each parent still be fair?
- Who will take your children to and from practices?
- Can you both attend the same games, recitals, or performances, or will you trade off?
Put it in the Parenting Plan
If you are currently going through a divorce, you might write some of your decisions into the parenting plan to cement the agreements you’ve reached. Consider which of you will pay for the activities or if you will split them evenly, or whether certain sports will be off-limits. For example, if one parent is absolutely against a particularly dangerous sport, they might write into the agreement that the other parent is prohibited from enrolling their children in that sport. If your children are already playing sports, you might set out negotiations regarding when your child will attend practices so that not all practice days take place during one parent’s time.
Parenting plans can also be modified after a divorce, if you feel strongly about making these terms part of your legal agreement. For parents who are already divorced or separated, it can be difficult to negotiate terms for your children when they are currently involved in sports or are just about to start. If there are any disagreements between the two of you, reaching an agreement can be even harder. The best thing to do is for each of you to remember to put your children first and to make sure whatever you decide is in their best interest.
In some cases, it might be necessary to renegotiate your parenting agreement, especially if your kids’ sports activities create a scheduling conflict. For example, if all practices fall on Mondays and those are the only days your ex has with your children, perhaps you should renegotiate which day he or she has them.We understand how hard co-parenting may be, which is why we want to help. Contact McKinley Irvin at our Washington office for help with your child custody arrangement.