Our story is an open book ready to be shared with those who think they are at it alone.
Many believe that you are an adult once you turn 18yrs of age but, like many others, I beg to defer.
Going into a co-parenting agreement typically means sorting the ins and outs of how you both agree to parent your child till the age of eighteen or once they graduate from high school. In my case, we actually mediated the agreement with signed legal work and attorneys taking everything into consideration from holiday travel days to extra-curriculars, (paid a pretty penny for that document too...ah, attorneys...). I soon found out that one signed document wouldn't quite cover everything that parenting with a person who does not share your household (or many ideals, hence the divorce in the first place) requires. I took matters into my own hands for the second piece of paper drawing from the State of Texas family courts database and conducted a "co-parenting" coffee meeting with all the parties involved. This new document covered issues that were not a matter of livelihood as much as they were a matter of parenting preferences like piercings, driving ages, curfews and grounding rules that could carryon from one house to the other enabling follow-through and consistent discipline rules (which is crucial factor at the tween/teen stage). When frustrations run high for a co-parent you often hear, "thank goodness you only have XX years left to have to deal with it" but that's not necessarily true.
When one begins to go through the motions of a divorce with children one does so with hope of a better future for all in their heart. Dreaming of the day when things are good enough to share special occasions like birthdays and holidays together, like a modern day family. Dreaming of the picture perfect step-parents for the kids, family portraits with four smiling adults and a mix of kids who claim to share siblings although they cant' quite explain how, everything will be better, it has to work out for the better, there is this hope that in not being together the things that didn't work for all involved while married will somehow sort itself out once divorced. People will mature, grow, give more, understand, cooperate, be happy. The problem is that it doesn't quite work that way, the nuisances that persisted in marriage continue to present themselves time and time again, mostly in the worst of times. The couple is still connected through and by the children while they make their lives apart, adding spouses, other children, other grandparents, "aunts" and "uncles", new friends with new advice, changing careers, moving to new homes and new cities, all while juggling their children in between, "always thinking, it's only till their 18, then it's done", no more answering or explaining to anybody, no more shared costs, no more scheduling, no more vacation and holiday interruptions, no more discussions or arguments, no more dealing with someone who I divorced all that time ago.
My girls are now both officially above the age delegated by my co-parenting agreement and I can attest to the fact that the idea of "no more" is itself no more. I've come to the realization that co-parenting is forever contract, one that persists, complicates and pushes the limits of one's parenting mentality constantly even with "adult" children. In fact, I've made some sort of peace with the notion that I will also have to co-grandparent one day (as if the opinions of your in-laws aren't enough when raising a kid imagine two sets of in-laws possibly on both sides?!). Co-parenting doesn't end at age 18 just like parenting doesn't end there either. Take heed, the moment you decide to bring life forth into this world you are agreeing to parent that little person in one capacity or another together forever.
Multi-tasking over-thinker that is, as you can imagine, often running late.