As a divorced parent, when it comes time to make custody and visitation arrangements, you will be faced with several choices. Many times, parents want the agreement to provide time with both parents, so joint custody is chosen. 50/50 seems to be a fair division of time for each parent and often the divorce decree will stipulate that each parent will share physical custody for 50% of the time.
However, when it comes to actually spelling out the exact details on this type of agreement, negotiations flounder and it becomes clear that more thought needs to be put into the custody arrangements. To help you and your spouse work out the details of a 50/50 parenting plan, read on for points to consider before you make your decision.
This type of plan simply won't work if you and your spouse don't get along. Open and respectful communication is a requirement if you choose this type of arrangement. Children are not fixed responsibilities; they get sick and need to stay home from school, and they often have last-minute social outings. Work schedules and responsibilities and the relative flexibility of both parent's schedules need to be considered. Remember, the main motivation for 50/50 parenting is how beneficial it will be for the children; if the plan only causes more strife, stress and disagreement, then any benefits could be negated.
Consistency for the children.
Divorce can be a devastating disruption for a child, so giving that child the security of knowing where they will be living at any given time is key. Come to an agreement that works by dividing the time and sticking to it, if at all possible. Keep it simple; a spreadsheet should be not be required to determine who has the child on certain dates.
One workable solution for many parents is to divide each week up and alternate weekends. For example, Dad gets the children on Monday and Tuesday, mom gets them on Wednesday and Thursday and each alternates the Friday – Sunday time period. Simple and fair, and it gives the parents a chance to plan ahead for their work and social lives. Children love routines, and this schedule allows them to see each parent at least two or three times a week.
50/50 parenting is not for everyone. It requires parents that are both willing and able to make the needs of their children a priority. If you are interested learning more about how to create a fair parenting plan that will lessen the impact of divorce on your children, contact a family law attorney who can assist you.