Nobody wants to get divorced, but getting divorced when you have children can be heartbreaking because one or both parents lose the day-to-day interaction with their children. It’s critical to set up the best schedule of care for your children that you possibly can. Knowing the ins and outs of how that system works will help you to create the best parenting time schedule for your family.
Know Your States Parenting Time Rules
Every state has its own set of guidelines for how families will divide the time between parents. Approximately 40% of the US has parenting time divided equally between the parents for grade school level children. The rest range from 22% to 33% parenting, or visitation, time for the noncustodial parent. Find out what your state typically does and be prepared to work within those guidelines. For actual scheduling, you will normally follow the recommendations of your state if there are any conflicts between you. Every state has instructions mapped out for holidays for each year for the custodial and non-custodial parent so that disagreements can be kept to a minimum.
Factor in Your Spouse’s Flexibility
Most states visitation schedules are for “minimum parenting time.” If you and your spouse are on amicable terms, you are generally welcome to work out whatever schedule will be best for each of you. So, your state may have a minimum plan where the noncustodial parent has every other weekend visitation. If you and your spouse feel that a better arrangement is every weekend from Saturday noon to Sunday at six, though, you can make personalized agreements. There are many possible variations in parenting time, so if you and your spouse are flexible, go ahead and do what works best for you.
Consider Your Children
If your children are older, divorce courts often take their feelings into account. For example, adolescent girls like to have a “home base” to live in, and not have a shared 50% custody. Teenagers, in general, are notorious for not wanting as much time with their parents. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change because you get divorced. They will still spend most of their time – visitation or not – hanging out with their friends.
Divorce is a challenging time for everyone. It’s tempting for parents to fight over getting time with their children. However, this process should be about making sure that your children are as happy and well-adjusted as possible.
Divorce lawyers are experts in areas such as child visitation schedules. Contact a divorce attorney, to help you work out the best plan for you and your family.