When you and the other parent of your children decide to call it quits, you have the option of settling your own custody issues outside of court. The two of you can determine what would be an appropriate division of your parenting time. You can also create a basic schedule for how you will share your time with your children and rules for how you will share different parenting responsibilities.
There are many factors that might influence how you or the courts handle family law matters. What are some of the most important considerations for parents who need to divide parental rights and responsibilities?
Your family schedules
Maybe your children each participate in a specific sport. Perhaps you have been working a second-shift schedule at work, while your spouse works extended weekend shifts, rather than a standard first-shift job.
No one understands your family’s unique scheduling arrangements better than you do, and the details of your daily lives should absolutely influence your standard custody schedule, as well as the rules you implement for unusual circumstances.
Your relationship with the children and their preferences
Each parent will have a unique relationship with the children. You have your own inside jokes and habits that you share with your kids. Considering the bond that each child has with the parents and even their stated preferences regarding how you divide parenting time could help you arrive at arrangements that are better aligned with your children’s wishes.
Honoring the current relationship that each of you has with the children will also help minimize the stress the kids experience while adjusting to your new shared custody situation. You also need to think about how their support needs will change as they grow and mature.
Your children’s need for stability and predictability
The less disruption there is to your children’s overall daily schedules and social lives, the less damaging the divorce will be for your kids. If the two of you can reach an arrangement that keeps them in the same school district, with the same childcare provider and on the same daily schedule, it will be easier for your children to adjust to the new situation.
Parents who put their children’s needs first will have an easier time cooperating with one another and helping their family move forward with a co-parenting arrangement.