Child Custody Tips
Gone are the days when full custody for mothers was always granted in a child custody hearing. Times have changed, and unless there is a major problem with one of the parents, there is usually some sort of just custody arrangement put in place. Sometimes the court will decide the schedule – although that is rare. Usually the parents are left to devise a schedule that will work for everybody.
Setting up a shared parenting plan can be a very stressful experience if you go into it unprepared. It is not uncommon for arguments to arise during the negotiations. But, it doesn’t need to be that way.
If both parents will go into their meetings with the expectation that they aren’t going to get everything they want, then things will get off to a better start. Both parents want the holidays and other special occasions, but the truth is that they need to be shared equally.
Ideally, both parents should make a list of the days that are the most important to them. Things like family reunions (if known far enough in advance) and special traditions are important to keep in mind. When you both have a list compiled individually, meet in a neutral location where you can work out the arrangement. Have a calendar on hand and start by figuring out how the schedule will work on weeks when there are no special events.
Once that is worked out, you can begin negotiating how the holidays will work. Typically, parents will alternate holidays and they will be the exact opposite for each parent the following year. The special occasion dates need to be worked in at this point too.
If you will both commit to spending a few hours in preparation and negotiations, and agree that you won’t get everything you ask for, you will save yourselves, and most importantly you children, quite a bit of grief down the road.