When parents divorce, their need for a third-party caregiver for their children typically increases significantly. If the two of you are going to live near each other, it’s probably best for your child if you can agree to have the same caregiver.
If you already depend on a nanny or regular babysitter to care for your child when you aren’t around or need some extra help, the best-case scenario is that they’ll agree to stay on and care for your child in both homes. Being able to spend time with someone they know and presumably like or even love as they go through this transition can help a child tremendously.
Having a caregiver you both know and trust can help you and your co-parent feel more secure when you can’t be home with your child during your parenting time. You’ll probably also want to consider adding a right of first refusal clause to your parenting plan in which you agree to give each other the chance to care for your child in these situations before calling your caregiver or anyone else.
Consistency and boundaries are useful
It’s typically best for kids when parents can agree on the same (or similar) rules for them in both homes. This also helps your caregiver provide consistent care and discipline. Even if you have some minor differences, when a third party is enforcing all of them, kids can adjust to the inconsistencies more easily.
Boundaries are crucial to discuss with your caregiver. They should never discuss the divorce with your child beyond what you’ve told them is appropriate. They certainly should never take sides when talking to your child or even with either of you. Neither of you should expect them to be your “eyes and ears” in the other home unless they learn of something that could endanger your child.
Whatever you decide to do about a caregiver (or multiple caregivers), it’s best to address it in your parenting plan. You may also need to address their payment in your child support order. Having sound legal guidance can help prevent uncertainty and conflict around childcare.