Over and over again, courts have determined that two parents need to be involved in a child’s life, even if those parents are divorced. If you and your spouse have split up and you want what is best for your child’s development and growth, you need to find a parenting plan that is healthy and beneficial. Below are a few things to consider when deciding how to co-parent.
Where the Child Needs to Live
You may want to be with your child all of the time, but, if your ex lives closer to the school and the child’s friends, it may be best not to take your child out of that environment. Instead, you may want to use a system where you visit the child on a regular basis and allow him or her to live with your ex.
A Set Schedule
The best thing to do is to have a set schedule so that your child knows what to expect. Don’t just show up and announce that you want to take the child on a vacation or anything like that. You may mean well and have a fun trip planned, but this is very intrusive. What if the child has other plans? What if your ex does? Barging in like this, even if you’re just trying to be nice, may not be good.
Think Realistically about Your Schedule
Often, parents will be overly optimistic about their schedules. They’ll say they can take the child far more often than they really can, not thinking about the realities of travel and a career. Be realistic when making your plan so that it really fits your life. This way, you won’t let the child down by constantly cancelling plans.
Understand that Age Matters
Your situation with your child may change as he or she grows up. If the child is three years old, you can set things up so they work best for you and your ex. When the child is a teenager, though, he or she will likely be heavily involved in activities or in spending time with friends. This can change when and how often you see the child.
Make it to Big Events
Mark down big events in your child’s life and make sure you’re there. This could be a football game your son is playing in, your daughter’s 15th birthday party, your child’s graduation day, or anything else. These are the days when your presence is most needed for a strong relationship.
There are many things you need to consider as you do this with the help of a family law attorney. A specialized lawyer will have the experience to understand how to assist you, no matter how unique your situation may be.