- There are 13.4 million single-parent homes in the United States.
- 48.7% of these homes have a child support agreement in place.
- 89.8% of those agreements are formal in nature.
Creating a parenting schedule with your ex can be difficult. Emotions run high during and after a divorce, and it can be stressful trying to come up with a fair plan that meets everyone’s needs — especially the needs of the children. What couples need to keep in mind is that a parenting plan not only divvies up the responsibilities for rearing the children, but shows the kids that mom and dad are willing to work together on their behalf.
As Orlando family law attorneys, we have helped clients construct parenting plans. We have seen amicable agreements, and have been part of negotiations when parents couldn’t agree. We have put together a list of dos and don’ts for putting together a plan with your ex.
What To Do When Constructing A Parenting Plan
If you and your ex are trying to come up with a parenting plan, do the following:
1. Think Of Your Kids
Consider the feelings of your children when creating your plan. Your kids are going through a big adjustment. They are no longer living with both of their parents and they are going to have to go between two different homes.
Think about what your kids’ lives will look like when you are considering different scenarios. Putting yourselves in your kids’ shoes can help you come up with a plan that works.
2. Keep Activities In Mind
Keep your kids’ routine in mind when creating your plan. Sports and after school activities need to be remembered. Factor their schedules into your plan. For example, your son may have soccer for several months out of the year and then play baseball during the summer.
You may have to be flexible in your visitation days and who is dropping off and picking up the kids for extracurricular activities.
3. Special Needs
Having a special needs child means that you need to take a bit more into consideration. If you have a child that does not do well with change, for example, you will want to work hard to keep their schedule as close to normal as you can.
If you have a child with physical needs, you’ll want to make sure those needs are provided for at both homes. Think about the things you have had to do for your child in your home and then how you can make those things happen at both homes.
Things to Not Do When Putting Your Parenting Plan Together
Just as there are things you need to remember to do, there are things you shouldn’t do when constructing your plan.
1. Worry About Your Own Convenience
A parenting plan isn’t about what’s most convenient. While it would be great if the plan makes your life easier, that shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. Remember that the aim of your plan is to keep your relationship with the kids a positive one.
Some of the things you come up with may be convenient for you but inconvenient for your ex and vice versa. That’s just the way things will play out. Expect that you will need to make some concessions.
2. Make Winning Important
Creating a parenting plan isn’t about winning or losing, so get that idea out of your mind. You are trying to do what’s best for your kids, not what’s best for you.
Don’t keep a tally of how much you give up compared to your ex. Don’t barter with your kids time or make them pawns in a game. Your kids aren’t a way to get revenge on your ex.
3. Assume You Are the Better Parent
You may have been “in charge” of the kids while you were married, but it doesn’t mean that your ex can’t learn to do the same things. Responsibilities naturally fall to one partner or the other.
You having taken care of the children while you were married doesn’t make you the only parent who can raise the kids properly. You’re going to have to give your ex a chance for the sake of your kids.
4. Make Your Schedule Permanent
When you are coming up with your parenting schedule, you’ve got to come up with one that works right now. You and your attorneys can revisit the agreement down the line if your living situation or that of your ex changes.
For now, you can’t put together a plan with your potential future in mind. The only thing you can think of when writing your plan is now.
Letting The Court Decide
In some instances, you may be better off letting the court decide on your parenting plan. This is what you may decide to do when you and your ex simply cannot decide on how to write a plan that’s best for your children.
Some ex spouses just cannot work together productively. When you find yourself in this predicament, leave it in the hands of the court. An Orlando family law attorney can provide more information about these situations.
Figure Out the Best Parenting Schedule Tactics by Speaking with an Orlando Family Law Attorney
No matter if you are trying to work with your ex to construct a parenting plan or considering allowing the court to determine your new schedule, speaking to an Orlando family law attorney will be beneficial.
Call our office today to schedule a consultation and discover more about how we can help you. We understand child custody laws in Florida and can use that knowledge to your benefit.