Divorce is not an uncommon situation today, with half of all children in the US going through the experience of their parents getting a divorce. However, a marriage ending does not mean that the family has to end as well. Many parents who decide that their marriage can no longer go on are concerned about minimizing the impact of the divorce on their children and want to make sure that their kids still feel safe, secure, and with a family to belong to no matter what has happened between their parents in the past. When it comes to making sure that the impact of divorce is minimal on your children and they are able to continue growing up in a way that is happy and healthy for them, a custody agreement is often essential. This agreement creates guidelines for your family when it comes to parenting time and how responsibilities are shared, making it easier for you to adjust to your new lives and providing much-needed stability for your children.
Modern Custody Agreement Trends
Some experts have noticed that these days, dads are no longer satisfied with older-style custody agreements where kids tend to traditionally spend more time with their mother, and only spend time with their dads on one weeknight and every other weekend. The good news is that more dads are looking for spending more time with their kids and genuinely want to share the parenting responsibilities 50/50, rather than only going for this kind of custody agreement as a way of getting out of child support. While after a divorce, children do not get to see both parents at the same time anymore, it’s usually healthiest for the child if an equal custody agreement can be reached, as they are not spending more time with one parent compared to the other. For more information, check out Onward for advice on parenting time guidelines. Onward offers an app that you can use to split costs and childcare responsibilities with your ex, and their advice on parenting time guidelines can be used to help you come up with a custody plan that works best for you.
Popular Custody Agreement Ideas
With more and more children now sharing their parents more equally after a divorce, and more dads looking to spend more time with their kids than the traditional every other weekend, both families and legal professionals have become a bit more creative when it comes to the different ways that they can divide this time. Some of the most popular ways to divide parenting time when it comes to custody agreements include:
Alternate weeks: The child will spend one week with one parent, and then the next with the other. Most families switch over on a weekend or Monday morning.
2-2-5-5- split: With this type of agreement, parents will alternate back and forth with having the kids. First, there’s a shorter period of two days, then two longer periods of five days each. As a result, parents do not go more than five days at a time without spending time with their children and the children can spend one half of the week with one parent, and the next half with the other.
2-2-3-3 split: With this agreement, one parent will have custody of the child for two days, before the child goes to the other parent for another two days. The first parent then has three days, and then the other has three days. This allows parents to alternate weekends spent with their kids.
3-4-4-3 split: This type of custody agreement split allows parents to divide the week almost in half, with each parent getting the kids for three days one week, then four days the next.
How to Come Up with an Ideal Parenting Time Agreement
Every family is different, and when it comes to deciding on a child custody and parenting time agreement, different things will work for different people. While there are various ways to divide parenting time that you might be able to choose from if you think that one is going to work well for you, keep these tips in mind as you decide on a parenting time agreement to help you come to a decision that you can all be happy with.
Use an App: There are plenty of apps available now that are designed for co-parents to create shared calendars and more. This makes it easier to communicate with your ex when it comes to working out your schedule and can help you with parenting time over occasions like birthdays and the holidays.
Be Flexible and Creative: Standard parenting time or custody agreements might not always work for every parent, for example, parents might have unusual work hours that require a more flexible and creative agreement. If you or your ex-partner work unusual shifts, for example, then it might be necessary for you to spend a little more time coming up with an agreement that is going to work.
Consider the Children’s Schedules: Often, this has to be the top priority when coming up with a custody agreement as the last thing that you want is to cause disruption to your child’s life. If your ex lives nearby and is easily able to take children to after-school activities and sports, for example, this is unlikely to be a huge problem. However, if not, it’s important to think about how a custody agreement is going to affect your child’s schedule and what the best way to minimize the impact will be.
Ask Your Child: While most experts don’t recommend allowing your child to make the final decision, it’s worth getting their input on what they think might work for them, especially if you have older kids who are capable of understanding what’s going on and can voice their own wishes. Not only could speak to your child make it easier for you to come up with ideas that you may not have thought of yourself, but it also demonstrates to them that hearing them is a priority during what can be an unstable situation.
Deciding on a custody agreement that works for everybody is not always easy, but with the right strategies, you can create a schedule that everybody is happy with.