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A core factor in your divorce is what happens in terms of child custody. Absent any abuse or neglect, the judge will likely favor joint custody. If you and your spouse are going to co-parent during and after your divorce, it is helpful to establish a parenting plan.

Creating a parenting plan provides structure and stability to what can otherwise be a stressful process. Keep the following suggestions in mind as you figure out a visitation schedule with your spouse.

Be reasonable

Maybe you think you deserve more time with your child than your ex. Perhaps you disagree with your ex’s parenting style. You may even have a goal to “win” every battle out of resentment. But if you are contentious and uncooperative during the process, it will only make things worse. Try to negotiate with the goal of doing what is best for your children, even if it means compromising on some things.

Consider what your child wants

The weight of your child’s preference largely depends on age. For example, if you have a toddler, it may not play much of a decisive role in determining the outcome. But if you have a teenager, his or her wishes may be more important.

Voice any legitimate concerns you have

You likely have a lot of concerns about your ex parenting your child, but some carry more legal weight than others. Disagreement over a parenting style is not a major factor. But if your ex has a drug addiction, alcohol problem or mental illness, you may want to bring this up. Clarify any of your worries before the custody arrangement is in place.

Remember your support network

Raising your child after divorce is difficult. Adhering to a parenting plan can be hard, especially if you work and are busy. Having a supportive group of people you can count on will help you navigate the process of co-parenting.