Coming up with a parenting or custody schedule is one of the most important steps when coming up with a separation agreement. It determines how which of you your child will live with at different times. Here are some tips to help you write the best parenting plan:
Use Clear Language
Using vague language in the custody schedule agreement is a recipe for future conflicts. You need to be as clear as possible when describing when and how much time the kid will spend with either parent. For example, when you say that the child will spend the holidays with his or her father, which holidays do you mean? Does this include the bank holidays, religious holidays and unofficial holidays such as Monkey Day?
Practicality, rather than emotion, should rule here. Consider an example where the other parent doesn't have a car and has to use public transportation. It wouldn't make sense to insist you must have the child at 7:00 a.m. every Saturday if you know very well that the first public transport system doesn't get to your area by that time. Being practical means considering all factors such as:
- Your work and commitment schedules
- The child's commitments
- Transportation and weather
Opt for Natural Transition
You should carefully plan for the transition of the child's care from one parent to another. Ideally, you should make it coincide with the transition in the young one's daily activities. For example, you can pick him or her up after school, piano lessons or football practice.
It wouldn't be fair to stick to a transition that interrupts a child's activity. For example, listing a transition time as 3:00 p.m., when the child is in the middle of baseball practice, is not natural. If possible, then you are the ones who should modify their activities to fit the child, and not vice versa.
Maintain Contact with Other People
You may be the parents of the child, but this doesn't mean that you are the only important relatives in their lives. For example, if the children usually spent time with their grandparents during the Christmas season, it might be a good idea to include this in the schedule. Some modification may be necessary, but you shouldn't do away with such contacts completely.
At the end of the day, you should know that there is no magic formula that works for all families. It is the child's interests that matter; you will be fine as long as you keep that in mind. Having the input of a family attorney, such as Tracy McMurtrie Luck & Associates, can help you to resolve any sticking points that may develop when coming up with a plan.Share