If you're like most divorcing parents sharing custody of their children, one of your biggest concerns is that they'll have a difficult time adjusting to living in two homes. One way co-parents can make this easier for them is by sharing a nanny or babysitter.
Maybe you've had a regular nanny for years, or perhaps you've just called up a neighborhood teen when you needed someone to look after the kids. Either way, being able to have a caregiver they know and like remain part of their lives (and preferably care for them in both homes) can help your kids settle in to their new lives. If you don't have a regular nanny or babysitter, it's best if you and your co-parent can choose one together.
All of this, of course, assumes that you and your co-parent will be living relatively close to one another. If not, you'll likely need separate caregivers.
Why a shared caregiver can also help parents
Having a caregiver you can trust can also help you, since you'll likely need one now that you're a single parent, at least for part of the week. They may even be able to help with transitions of the kids between your two homes.
Just as it's best for the kids to have similar rules and expectations in both homes, it's better for your caregiver as well. There will naturally be some differences, and you should each make those clear to them. Kids can likely adjust to these differences if their nanny or sitter consistently enforces all of them.
Boundaries are crucial
You should never ask your nanny or sitter to take sides any more than you'd ask your kids to. They also shouldn't be someone you confide in about your divorce or be expected to “report back” to you on things that go on in your ex's home – unless it's something that threatens your children's health or safety.
You'll need to work out the financial aspects of sharing a caregiver – particularly if they'll be looking after the kids regularly. Determine how the cost will be divided between you and how they'll be paid. They shouldn't have to go back and forth between the two of you to get the money they're owed. These and other details about your children's caregiver(s) can be included in your parenting plan, child support order and other agreements that are part of your divorce.