How to Build a Shared Custody Schedule for Co-Parenting after a Divorce

Recently divorced parents face the challenge of adjusting their schedules for their children. There’s doctor appointments, sports practices, school, and the time you get to bond with your child — parenting time that now needs to be divided up.

Our goal here at Vaught Law Firm is to help parents co-parent effectively when the case is over. We encourage parents to always put the needs of their children first when involved in a divorce and figure out the best way for them to do that.

If both parents agree that co-parenting their children is the most important thing to their family, building a custody schedule by week, month, or year is doable. Here are some of our tips on communicating, creating a co-parenting schedule, and helping children adjust to the changes that come after a divorce.

Tips for Shared Parenting

How Age Plays a Factor

Circumstances regarding the custody of a child can differ based on their age. Depending on the child’s age, they may be able to take part in the custody process, particularly starting at the age of 12.

For children under the age of 3, child custody will be determined between the primary parties and the court. Factors include:

  • Willingness and availability to provide care for the child
  • The child’s physical, medical, and otherwise unique needs
  • Relationship between parents
  • Geographic distance between the child’s parents
  • Additional factors can apply

For children aged 12 and older:

  • Children can potentially have a part in the custody process regarding where they would prefer to live. The court, however, does not have to abide by their request.

Kids don’t need to spend the majority of time in one home.

It’s more important for children to have emotional stability than geographical stability. Emotional stability is critical for healthy development and many parents underestimate their ability to adapt to new communities and relationships.

Organize the calendar to suit your (the parent’s) circumstances, not the kids.

One parent, or sometimes both, needs to move out and into a different home. The initial schedule may need to be temporary until the other parent is settled into their new home. This is when good communication between parents is essential.

If infants are involved, it takes special consideration; both parents should be involved.

Many believe that it’s crucial for mothers to be with infants round-the-clock for healthy development. However, there is no research to support this. It’s perfectly fine for the other parent to spend a night with the infant. Infants should be accustomed to the other parent coming to take care of them, and this is important bonding time for parents and child.

Custody Support from Third Parties

There are circumstances where a third party can take responsibility for child custody. Third parties can include the child’s grandparents, siblings, and other relatives to the child. This can include partners of the child’s biological parent as well. Such cases often stem from the child’s biological parents being unable to provide for their child due to unforeseen circumstances.

Often, grandparents are the third parties requesting responsibility for the child’s care when the primary parent is deemed ‘unfit’ for the child. A third party can seek custody of the child, but the court will determine whether they are deemed ‘fit’ for caring for the child. This requires the seeker of custody to be mentally and financially sound.

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