Except for in cases of abuse or neglect, it is in your child’s best interest to have a consistent relationship with both of his or her parents as he or she grows up. Remember that phrase – “in your child’s best interest” – because it is the court’s highest priority when developing a child’s parenting plan. As a parent, it should also be your priority when working through the parts of your divorce that have to do with your children.
You and your spouse can provide input to your child’s parenting plan, also known as a timesharing arrangement. If you are divorcing through mediation, you have even greater control over your child’s final timesharing plan. Keep the following in mind as you work with your spouse and the court to create the ideal timesharing arrangement for your child:
Your Child’s Growth in All Areas
Your child will not just grow physically. He or she will grow emotionally and psychologically. He or she will also advance academically and if you are religious, complete greater levels of religious training. It is important that he or she does so in an arrangement that allows him or her to flourish in all areas. For example, one household might grant the child greater access to extracurricular activities or academic resources. That household might be the ideal place for the child to spend the schoolweek.
Your Child’s Relationships with You, Your Former Spouse, and Other Present in your Households
Your parenting plan could be a way for you or your former partner to facilitate a new, stronger relationship with your child. Keep in mind who lives in each household – if being in a household with a parent’s other children from a different relationship could be detrimental to a child, that household might not be a good primary residence for him or her.
How to Handle Holidays
Do not neglect future holidays in your parenting plan. Talk with your former partner about how your child can ideally spend future holidays and see if you can reach an agreement. Your agreement might have your child alternate holidays between parents each year or spend part of the day with one parent, then the other part with the other parent. You might also assign specific holidays to be spent with a particular parent, like your child spending Mother’s Day with his or her mother and Father’s Day with his or her father.
Disrupting your Child’s Current Routine
If one of you is keeping the marital home, it could be best for your child to live primarily in that house so there is less of a disruption to his or her daily routine. Keeping your child in the same school and following the same schedule he or she followed before the divorce can be important to his or her well being, which is something to consider when developing a timesharing plan.
Draper Law Office Can Help you Develop an Appropriate Parenting Agreement
Take the time to educate yourself about developing a timesharing agreement and parenting in the years that follow your divorce by speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer. Our team at Draper Law Office can answer any questions you have and help you feel empowered to work with your former partner and the court to create a parenting plan for your child. To get started, call (866) 767-4711 or visit us online to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three convenient office locations.