Sharing children with an ex isn’t always an easy situation, but deciding that you want it to work for the good of the kids is a step in the right direction. One of the most important things you can do is to remember that the only focus has to be the children.
Once you let go of the things that led to the divorce, you will probably find that it is a lot easier to make sure that you’re doing what’s best for the kids. It might not be easy to let go of everything, so you may just have to learn to focus on how your ex parents instead of thinking about what happened in your marriage.
Choosing the custody schedule
Determining what schedule the children will follow is sometimes one of the most difficult decisions. You have to think about the child’s normal activities so that you can determine what might work. Consider the school schedule, as well as extracurricular activities. The distance you and the other parent live from each other and the places the children will need to go might also be a factor.
There are a few common joint custody schedules that people use, but these might only be a starting point for your schedule. Remaining flexible and being willing to change things as the child needs is beneficial for everyone involved.
Some parents opt to use a schedule where the child spends a full week with each parent. This gives the child time to adjust to the home, but some mental health practitioners note that more frequent moves from one parent to the other are beneficial for younger children.
Parents who want to use a shorter period can use a 2-2-3 or a 2-2-5 schedule. In these, the child spends two days with parent A, then two days with parent B, then three or five days with parent A before starting the cycle over. This time, parent B starts the cycle with two days, then parent A has two days, then parent B has three or five.
Adjusting the schedule
You might be able to use the same schedule all year long, however, parents sometimes find that they need to adjust it depending on the time of year. You may need a different plan for school holidays and summer. A special one for major holidays might also be necessary.
You should remember to set a schedule that works for the children now. You can use a modification later if the child’s needs change.