Divorced parents in Pennsylvania that can successfully co-parent are doing their children a huge favor. While the situation may not be easy, your children will benefit from maintaining their relationships with both parents. To make the arrangement work, divorcing parents should develop a parenting plan.
Consider schedules, locations and distances
You might not want to live right down the street from your ex-spouse; however, the closer you can be geographically to your ex, the easier it will be to implement your shared custody arrangement. While creating a parenting plan, you'll have to take into consideration everyone's schedule and everyone's location. Some things to consider include:
- The location of your child's school
- The school bus schedule
- Extracurricular activities
- The location of a trusted babysitter
- The distance between your houses
As you shuttle the kids between houses, school and activities, you'll quickly realize that a shared custody agreement requires more driving time than you may have been used to. That's why it's vital to take all of those drive times into account early on so that you can develop a realistic plan. With thoughtful planning, you can ensure that your child can continue to participate in their favorite activities.
Do what's best, not what's most convenient
When developing a parenting plan, it can be tempting to make choices out of convenience. For example, it might be more convenient for your daughter to switch dance schools because you moved. It may also be more convenient to find a new babysitter. It's important to remember that the other adults in your child's life may be important to them, and maintaining as much normalcy as possible after a divorce will help your child's mental well-being.
What happens when parents can't agree on a schedule
Sometimes, all the mediation in the world can't get two parents to see eye to eye on a parenting plan. When this is the case, a judge may have to make a decision about the schedule. A parent who is in this situation may want to have representation from a child custody lawyer.