One of the most challenging things about going through a divorce when you have children is planning out a custody schedule that works for both parents. It’s difficult when there’s already animosity and resentment involved to come up with something that is fair and beneficial to both parents. Working with a child custody lawyer and a divorce mediator can help you and your ex-spouse create a plan that grants you both time with your child while being in the best interest of everyone involved.
Creating A Temporary Custody Agreement
Divorces can take quite a while to be finalized. For this reason, it’s best to come up with a plan to carry you through the duration of the divorce. A temporary plan can be a very useful way to test out a custody schedule before finalizing it. You and your ex-spouse can work together to tentatively nail down days and times that your child will spend with each of you, joint parental guidelines you will both abide by when raising your child, and any financial support one parent may need to pay the other.
A temporary custody schedule is a way to work out the kinks and see what is and isn’t working. Keeping detailed notes of any issues that arise and the dates, times, and frequency can help the judge approve a better plan once the divorce is final. The purpose of a temporary plan is to get through the divorce while you and your ex successfully co-parent.
Work With A Collaborative Divorce or Mediation Attorney to Create a Child Custody Schedule
Mediation and collaborative divorce are popular options when couples are trying to avoid litigation and all the animosity that comes with a bad divorce. You will go over all the details of the divorce with a neutral third party, such as dividing up property & assets, alimony payments, and most importantly, child custody & visitation.
With the help of an attorney or mediator, you and your ex can work together to find common ground and to compromise. You want to do what is healthiest for your child, and a skilled mediator can help you make the best decisions based on your shared joint legal custody and physical custody. Some of the things you’ll consider when mapping out a custody schedule are:
- Set a school schedule – The hardest part about joint custody is working out a school schedule that benefits the child. Keeping the child in school in a stable environment to complete assignments is key. If they have after-school activities, you and your spouse will need to make sure those responsibilities are divided up too.
- Set a holiday schedule – Some parents feel very territorial over holidays and for understandable reasons. But now that you and your spouse have split up, you’ll have to break the holidays up between you, unless you plan on still spending them together.
- Parenting guidelines you’ll both follow – When you were together, you and your spouse most likely decided on ways that you were going to raise your child. Now that you’re split up, some of these decisions may not line up anymore. Joint legal custody grants parents the right to make legal decisions on how a child is raised (including decisions such as what religion the child will be raised as for example). Coming to an agreement on these guidelines is key for creating a custody agreement you both like.
- Appropriate boundaries for meeting new partners – It’s inevitable that you and your ex will move on and find new partners. While it’s hard to imagine now, when your split is still fresh, it is something you need to plan ahead for. When are you okay with each other introducing your child to a new partner? Making a detailed agreement on this now will prevent frustration and surprise down the line.
If you have questions about child custody or creating a child custody schedule, LPEP Law goes over the details here. We’re based out of San Jose but serve surrounding areas, including Santa Cruz. We also offer free 30-minute consultations where we can talk to you about setting up a custody schedule that works for you and your ex. We can also help you with divorce mediation/ collaborative divorce. You can reach out to us here to set up your free consultation.