Tips for Setting a Co-Parenting Schedule Without Court Involvement
Determining child custody is an essential part of most divorces. Despite the animosity that spouses might feel toward one another, roughly four-fifths of child custody agreements are decided without judges or other third-party entities getting involved. Considering this widespread trend in the world of divorce, you should have a good idea of how to go about successfully reaching a co-parenting schedule that you and your soon-to-be-ex-partner both agree on without third-party involvement.
1. Understand That Parenting Plans Don’t Just Include Schedules
Parenting schedules determine when and where divorced parents can spend time with their children. In some cases, one party can only visit their children at the other parent’s house. However, most parenting schedules allow the other parent to take custody of their kids for at least one full day every two weeks.
Parenting plans don’t just determine when parents will see their kids. These plans also outline who will be responsible for making important decisions. A few of the most common decision-making topics covered by parenting plans include:
- School enrollment
- Medical treatment
- Health insurance plans
Knowing that parenting plans contain both time-sharing and decision-making agreements could improve your chances of reaching a comprehensive parenting plan that meets your own and your spouse’s needs.
2. Think Outside of the Box
Many experienced divorced parents have found that one-week-on, one-week-off co-parenting schedules aren’t ideal. Although they might seem like the definition of fairness, these alternating-week schedules can cause serious problems down the road. Having your kids for an entire week at a time can force you to incur substantial child care expenses. It can also lead to unnecessary stress, in turn stifling your parental performance.
Ideally, divorced parents who are on good terms allow each other to see their children on off weeks. This is essential to keeping your kids happy and healthy as children typically don’t like going a full week without seeing their mom or dad.
It’s important to create a parenting plan that leaves room for flexibility. For example, maybe you find that it works better to switch custody every two or three days. If you keep an open mind and remain willing to change the plan as needed, you’re more likely to land on an agreement that works out for everyone’s benefit.
3. Be Transparent About Your Expectations and Concerns
Be clear about your custody expectations with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Obscuring your goals can lead your former partner to feel wronged, potentially complicating your divorce even further.
If you’re not sure how to approach your spouse with these expectations and concerns, run them by your divorce lawyer. Should you not feel confident disclosing them to your spouse on your own, your divorce lawyer can share these ideas with your spouse in a way that avoids rocking the proverbial boat.
4. Think About Using Co-Parenting Apps
Consumer technology has undoubtedly made some facets of life easier. Many divorced parents have had good experiences with co-parenting apps. These mobile apps and computer programs help you track important documents, organize all co-parenting matters and keep from forgetting essential details.
Co-parenting platforms back up all information shared to secure cloud servers, which hold you and your former spouse accountable. You can share receipts, medical bills and calendar information and keep it all in one secure place.
A Family Law Attorney Could Improve Your Bargaining Experience
If you’re like most parents, you place your children’s well-being and future prospects above everything else. Considering the decades-long effects a divorce can have, you should enter the divorce process prepared to negotiate with the best interests of your children in mind.
Let skilled divorce lawyer Joanne E. Kleiner help you through your divorce. Feel free to stop by our main office in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, or call us at (215) 886-1266. You can also reach out to us by completing our website’s contact form.
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