When couples with children break up, it can be hard on everyone involved. For parents, it means the end of a relationship and a loss of all the things associated with having a partner. For children, it means different living situations, swapping between two homes, and living under two separate settings. For everyone, the end of a relationship can cause a lot of uncertainty, unpredictability, and mixed emotion. This article talks about the important considerations that go into a good parenting schedule, and how having a parenting schedule can make things easier on everyone.
A good parenting schedule will invariably take into account the realities of the distance between parents. If the parents live close to one another, exchanges can occur more frequently, each parent can usually bear responsibility for providing transportation to/from school, and parents may be able to agree upon extracurricular activities. However, if the parties live far from one another, a parenting schedule may provide that one parent exercises parenting time primarily during the week, while the other parent may have extensive parenting time on weekends and holidays.
A good parenting plan will also necessarily consider the age of the child(ren). Older kids may be perfectly comfortable about swapping between their parents’ houses on a rather constant basis. However, for especially young children, there’s quite a bit of research to show that constant upheaval can be detrimental for their development. Instead, for really young kids, it’s generally better for the child to have one “primary” parent with whom they reside the majority of the time, and frequent, but brief, visits with the other parent. Research demonstrates that duration isn’t nearly as important to relationships with young children as frequency.
Parenting schedules also should take into account the way the relationship ends, how well parents interact with one another, and whether there are/have been safety concerns, abuse, or violence. For parents whose relationship ended amicably, it may be fine to have parenting time exchanges occur face-to-face at the parents’ residences. For those cases with deeper issues, it might be better to have exchanges occur in a public place. Or perhaps if the kids are of school age, exchanges may provide that one parent’s parenting time ends by dropping off the children at the start of school, and the other parent’s time begins when they pick the children up from school.
Parenting schedules can be extremely complex, and while we’ve tried to provide you with a few major considerations relevant to formulating a parenting schedule, there’s no way that we could cover it all here. If your relationship is ending with the parent of your children, do yourself and your kids a favor — take the time to consult with a family law attorney. At Modern Family Law, we provide free consultations with our team of family law attorneys. Contact us today for your free consultation.
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