Sharing your children, even with their other parent, may not feel easy especially as you begin to adjust to life after a divorce. It may be a difficult transition for both you and your kids. However, there are strategies you can adopt in order to build a parenting plan that allows all parties to have input to bring about a satisfactory result. Here are some tips from our experienced divorce attorneys.
Think About Your Kids First
The parenting plan you put together with your child’s other parent is truly about your children and how they are going to spend the next several years of their lives between their two parents. The first priority in making a parenting plan is to keep your children’s best interest at the forefront. Consider their activities and the work schedules of both parents. Also remember the amount of travel time between the two homes and activities that will be required. As much as possible, try to maintain a sense of your children’s routine. The happier your children are, the better off everyone will be in the long run.
Create Your Own “Wish List”
It is rare for one parent to get to spend a certain holiday every year with the children except on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, which usually go to the respective parents each year. However, if there is a holiday or time of year that is especially important to you, put it on your wish list. For example, you may love celebrating Easter and you know that it has never been important to your former spouse. Ask to have Easter with the kids each year and, in exchange, give him another annual holiday that he loves. Some businesses close for specific weeks during the year; if this is the case for you, ask to make certain the children stay with you as you have that time off. It may also be reasonable to ask to spend your own birthday with the children each year as well.
Decide on the Amount of Details for Your Parenting Plan
As divorce attorneys, we have seen everything from the most detailed plans with exchange times and locations for every weekend and holiday to other plans that are not as detailed. When it comes to working out your own parenting plan, you know the other parent. If you think they need accountability and a timeline, be sure to include it in your parenting plan.
Some elements other than physical custody and exchange times and locations that can be included in a parenting plan are:
- Designating which parent the school should call first in the event of illness or accident
- Who has primary medical decision rights (this may be shared, may belong to the parent with physical custody at that time, or may be given to one parent all the time)
- Extracurricular activity decision involvement (how many activities, what type, etc.)
- Screen time, chores and discipline consistencies in both homes
Finally, you need to decide how you are splitting up the time between your households. In Florida, time sharing most often means equal time between both parents. For some, rotating weekly works best. For others, splitting the week up into shorter visits may benefit the children more so it is not as long between visits.
Trust the Experienced Divorce Attorneys at Wagstaff and Pitelis
Whether you want to make a modification to your parenting plan currently in place or are looking for a divorce attorney to handle your divorce and child custody, we can help. Call us today for a confidential consultation at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form.