One of the main challenges couples face after a divorce is changing their schedules to accommodate their children.
They have to decide which time of the week, month or year will be appropriate for visitation not just for their children but for the parents. This is made more complicated when divorced couples move to different geographic locations that are far apart. Other things they have to figure out is how they are going to take their children to doctor appointments, school, sports practices, and while also having enough time with their child.
Parents should always put the interests of their children first during the divorce process. They should create a co-parenting schedule that will allow their children to easily adjust to the changes after the divorce.
How to Share Parenting
First, parents should organize the calendar to suit their circumstances, not the kids. Since one parent will have to move after the divorce or sometimes both parents have to move, the initial schedule should allow the parent that has moved time to settle in. With good communication, the divorced parents can agree on all this.
As far as custody is concerned, it all depends on the age of the child. Children age 12 and over may participate in the custody process, but the primary parties and the court decide custody for children under the age of 3. While children who are 12 years old and over may take part in the custody process, the court does not have to abide by their wishes or requests. Normally, the factors that determine the court’s orders for the possessions of children under the age of 3 include:
- Availability and willingness to take care of the child
- The geographic distance between the parents of the child
- The child physical, medical, emotional and other unique needs
- Child’s need for healthy attachments
- How the child will be affected by the separation from either parent
There are other additional factors that the court can use to determine custody for children.
General Factors a Court Considers When Deciding on a Parenting Schedule
The court often considers the best interest of the child when deciding on the parenting plan. Some of the factors the court considers include:
- The parenting history of both parents
- The wishes and preferences of the parents about conservatorship of the child
- The mental, physical and emotional health of the child
- If the child has any special needs and how these needs can be met by either parent
- Either parents ability to raise the child in a safe, stable and loving environment
Where the Child Will Live
The child will live with the custodial parent, but the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights. However, depending on the agreed-upon schedule, children can live with the non-custodial parent for certain periods like holidays or during a summer month and so on. What most people don’t know is that kids do not have to spend the majority of their time in one home. Emotional stability is actually much more important than geographic stability.