As divorcing parents, you and your ex-spouse need to determine the future of your children. You may choose to share physical custody of your child. Or you may decide that the child will live with one of you, and the other parent gets visiting rights.
The best parenting plans strive to be both clear and flexible so that they can accommodate your family’s unique needs.
The more detailed your parenting plan, the better
When looking at how you will split time with your child, it can be easy to generalize. You might say the child lives with you, and the other parent has them on weekends, for example. Or you have the kids one week and your ex the next. While this could work, it may not be best for you or your children.
Taking a close look at your lifestyle and your child’s needs can help you develop a parenting plan that is more useful to you.
You need to consider special days in a parenting plan
The typical school year has 180 days. Your child is not at school for half of the year. That can make looking after them challenging. Here are some special days to consider:
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: Imagine how disappointed your child would be if they cannot give you the present they made at school.
- Birthdays: How would you feel not being able to see your child blow out their candles. How would they feel about not being able to bake a cake for you and fill it with candles?
- The holiday period: Thanksgiving and Christmas are family time. How will you work it when your family is split in two?
- Vacations and public holidays: Let’s say your spouse is a teacher. You might not have noticed how easy that made looking after the children when they were not at school. Not everyone can take time off work. Not everyone can afford a childminder.
The more you prepare ahead and the more flexible you remain, the better. Try to include language that allows for occasional “trades” in parenting time and other clauses that can help manage unexpected situations with a minimum of confusion.
Maintaining a flexible and courteous relationship with your ex can simplify the shared parenting of your child. It is in all your interests.