Joint parenting is an ideal situation where you and your spouse can enjoy time with the children. Organization and compromise is the foundation to any 50/50 custody and visitation schedule. You will want to make sure that the time is divided fairly so you can both be involved in the child's upbringing. Ultimately, you should keep your child's best interests top of mind when reaching an arrangement. The first step is meeting with your spouse and preparing an outline that considers the various elements of your parenting goals.
Basic elements of a residential schedule
- Discuss the holidays beforehand. Holidays are one of the hardest parts about joint custody. It's difficult to imagine celebrating Christmas or Easter without your child. Talking about the holidays is challenging, but you and your co-parent should discuss a solution early on. You both might have to consider each other's wishes and priorities before coming to an agreement.
- Work and school schedules don't always mesh. A 50/50 balance is the main goal of joint custody. It's important to consider that children have schedules as well. Their school schedule might not always sync with your work schedule, and the co-parent must pick them up. This results in less time for you and more time for them, but it's in the best interest of the child.
- Remember that age matters. Visitation schedules change as your children get older. Children from the age 6 to 12 years old require plenty of contact with parents. This certain age demands a consistent schedule, and a home base might be beneficial.
- Strive to maintain a regular cycle. A good parenting plan should be organized and incorporate a basic cycle. Parents can decide on a bi-weekly or monthly cycle depending on their unique situation. Special cycles can be created for holidays and vacations.
Child custody and visitation modification
Child custody and visitation arrangements can be modified. The parent/child relationship is constantly fluctuating and so will the schedule. After changing the schedule, it can be helpful to go back in and calculate how many hours each parent gets per month. A stable environment for the child should be the center of both party's goals. This happens by tweaking the custody and visitation schedules to best fit their needs.