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Is Peaceful Partnership Possible? Creating Parenting Visitation Schedules That Work
Among the many difficult tasks to do during your divorce, determining custody is what most parents dread. The idea of your children not living with you for some or most of the time can be painful to think about. Child custody is often viewed as a battle, with the children stuck in the middle.
However, there are many benefits to focusing on what is best for the children after your divorce. If you and the other parent can approach custody, visitations and co-parenting schedules with a positive attitude, the battle can become a partnership. The negotiation process results in both of you creating a parenting plan and working out co-parenting schedules, for your children’s sake.
Prioritize Your Parenting Agreements
Your parenting plan is a document that outlines the rights and responsibilities you and the other parent agree to in raising your children. It usually covers everything from decision-making to discipline. Your parenting plan should also include a parenting visitation schedule. This is a calendar that outlines where your children will be on any given day.
There is no single ideal calendar that fits every family. Instead, you must work together to customize a schedule that supports your family’s unique ages and stages. There are a wide range of schedules, from alternating weeks to weekday/weekend visits. All that matters is whether the arrangement works for your family and that it promotes healthy physical and emotional development in your children.
The family court wants to see parents working together to create the best possible schedule for their children. You and the other parent are experts on what your children need and can make the best of a stressful separation by working together to make a parenting visitation schedule that is stable, fair and flexible. Rather than using the negotiation process as a way to get back at the other parent, focus on the children and what they need.
Put Children First
Children need a reliable schedule to feel secure and stable. Without a reliable schedule and some idea about what each day will bring, children can become anxious and stressed.
Even if you and the other parent agree to a great parenting schedule, your children will still experience huge changes and it will take some time to get used to their new lives. You can experiment with a few visitation arrangements to see which ones they seem to like best.
Different schedules may work for different ages as well. Younger children thrive best when they feel they have a permanent place that they leave and return to. Older children are more flexible and can handle longer, more frequent visitations. Siblings may wish to make visitations together, while others might desire some one-on-one time with each parent. Analyze what each child needs and structure the parenting visitation schedule accordingly.
Above all, the relationship between you and the other parent is the most important factor in making sure the parenting visitation schedule actually works. Do everything you can to develop a cooperative partnership with the other parent, leaving conflict and negativity behind.
Your relationship as a couple may be at an end, but your partnership as the parents of your children is for life. Put your love for your children above any other emotions and create the best post-divorce schedule you can.