As parents, you understand that a large focus of your life is your children. So, while you plan to separate your life from your soon-to-be ex, a large part of the process will include devising a plan for how you will take care of your kids between two homes.
Determining parenting time can be a tough choice to make, especially since there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Instead of letting decisions regarding your children turn into arguments, you can try reasoning and being flexible with your ex instead.
Understand benefits of equal parenting time
There are plenty of ways to split up parenting time in joint custody arrangements — like having your kids two, three or five days in a row before switching. It’s worth considering the 50/50 split your ex might advocate for, even if you think the children should spend less time with your them. This is because children form attachments and relationships with people who take care of them. Meaning if they are spending way more time with one parent, then they might not be able to build as strong of a bond with both parents.
Invite a neutral party
Keeping the safety and security of your children in mind shouldn’t be grounds for battle. Perhaps, you’ve tried to create a plan, but still disagree with which holidays your children will spend with you or whether keeping your children in the same school district is the best choice. If that’s the case, then you might need to rope in some outside help. Many divorcing couples work with mediators to get through differences and develop a plan that meets each parent’s desires.
Leave room for flexibility
Say you implement two days on, two days off custody schedule at the beginning of your divorce. Then, somewhere down the line your ex moves into a home that is a bit further away. It might make more sense to not be drive that far as often, and keep your children in your care a few more days in a row before taking them to your ex-spouse’s home instead.
Anyone who has a long commute knows long drives can take time away from your day — time where your kids could be doing homework or you could be cooking dinner. As such, keeping a note in your initial parenting plan that you are both willing to be flexible when circumstances change can save you from future disagreements.
Creating a plan that can evolve over time can help you and your ex adjust to meet the needs of your children, no matter what life after divorce looks like.