Divorce signifies the end of a relationship, however for divorced parents it also signifies the beginning of a new type of relationship – the co-parenting relationship.
Devising custody agreements and putting them into practice can be time consuming and emotionally draining for parents and children involved.
If you have joint custody of your children with your ex-partner, you both have a say in the major decisions regarding your child’s life, such as education, religious upbringing and medical care.
Joint custody also usually means children spend roughly an equal amount of time living in each parents home, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be an exact 50/50 split. The main aim of joint custody is to ensure children have and develop meaningful relationships with both parents.
There are many practical schedules co-parents can implement to share their time meaningfully with their children.
The following schedules give a good starting point for parents:
Each parent has the child on alternating weeks, with transition between households usually happening after school on a Friday or on the weekend. Obviously, changeover can happen any day which works best for the parents and child.
For this arrangement to work best, parents will need to live relatively close to one another, so children have easy access to their school, friends and extracurricular activities.
With this schedule time is split 50/50, however some families may find that going one week without seeing one parent is not ideal.
Related Article: A Guide To Co-Parenting
If alternating weeks is not an ideal solution, alternating weeks with a visit may be an option. This schedule is similar to the above, however each parent visits the child during their off-week.
This type or schedule is a 60/40 split of time, where one parent has the child from Monday after school to Friday morning and the other parents has the child Friday after school until Monday morning.
This approach can be polarising for co-parents as it can result in one parent being the ‘fun parent’.
Another 60/40 option is for one parent to have the child Wednesday afternoon to Saturday early afternoon and the other parent to have the child Saturday early afternoon to Wednesday afternoon. This means each parent has both week days and weekends to spend with the child.
Related Article: How To Communicate Better With Your Co-Parent
There are countless rotations parents can come up with. Rotating schedules allow parents to have alternate weekends and week days with their child, however the downside with stress this might place on the child or family as moving the child every few days can be very disruptive.
Each family is unique and custody schedules should fit well to accommodate both the child’s and parent’s lifestyle. Whatever custody schedule you choose, remember to give everyone time to adjust before making changes.
The main aim should be to create a schedule that gives the child meaningful time with each parent.
Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org