Ever since you became a parent, you have wanted nothing more than to do right by your kids. Because of this desire, you may have struggled with the fact that you and your spouse were heading for divorce. You likely considered staying married for the sake of the kids, but in the end, you knew that allowing them to potentially have two happy homes would work better than keeping them in one with an unhappy environment.
Still, you have many choices to make when it comes to child custody arrangements, and you may want to work with the other parent in hopes of coming up with a parenting arrangement and schedule that works to the benefit of everyone involved. Of course, this task may not prove easy, and some planning tips may help you along the way.
You are already taking a useful approach by trying to work with the other parent to create the plan. Often, when the parents can create a schedule outside the courtroom, they have a greater chance of sticking to that plan. Some other ideas to consider include the following:
- Think of your kids: You may not feel this idea needs saying as your children remain at the forefront of your mind. However, you may find yourself thinking of ways to make a parenting plan more convenient for you or your ex, and that could have negative effects on the kids.
- Think about involving the kids: While you consider your children’s well-being, you may also want to ask them how they want the schedule to look. Depending on their ages, their input may not offer much help, but older kids may have preferences and insights that make creating the plan easier.
- Think about location: You may want to spend as much time with your kids as possible, but you need to factor in the other parent’s location and the locations of schools and any events your kids attend. Certain schedule ideas may not work if parents live too far apart.
- Think about flexibility: You and the other parent may come up with a plan that seems perfect, but you may want to remember that the plan needs flexibility. A parent or child could become ill, school functions could get in the way or any number of events could throw a wrench in your “perfect” plan.
Of course, any plan that you come up with will need court approval before it is considered legally binding. You may find it helpful to consult with your attorney about parenting plans and other tips regarding custody.