When couples get divorced, there are many things they argue about, but none so much as child custody. Who gets the kids and for how long is a huge source of strife for many divorcing parents, and the fights this issue generates can quickly poison the rest of the divorce process. So how do you avoid making a bad thing worse? How do you figure out parenting schedules that work for both of you without a fight? Well, it can be a process, but it’s totally possible (and totally preferable as well!)
Agree to work together!
If you want to create a parenting plan that work for both parents, and doesn’t favor one over the other, you’re going to have to agree to work together. This means that you and your spouse need to lay aside your differences in the name of creating something that is good for your kids, and works well for BOTH of you. You may be justifiably angry at your spouse, but this is not the time to get back at them. This is about working together for the betterment of your kids’ lives.
Be willing to compromise!
You can’t have everything your own way. If you are going to work together with your spouse to craft a schedule that honors both of your individual needs, you have to be willing to compromise. Some aspects of the schedule will be convenient for you, and some won’t. But the same goes for your spouse. Both of you have to be willing to be flexible and work around each other’s commitments.
Sit down and create a list of your commitments.
Sit down, apart from your spouse, and write down all of the commitments you have in the average month. This includes your work schedule, your standing social engagements (weekly bowling perhaps, or Thursday night drinks with coworkers?), and regular appointments you have to keep (maybe your weekly therapy appointment, or a monthly meeting with a medical specialist). Now categorize your commitments into “fixed” and “flexible” – in other words, things that you can’t change, and things that you could reschedule or skip if you had to.
Compare your list with your spouse’s
You and your spouse need to sit down and compare your calendars. Do they have something on a Wednesday after work that they simply can’t get out of, while you have a social engagement that you could afford to miss? Their situation trumps yours. Do you have a fixed work schedule, while they have more flexibility with their hours? Then your situation trumps theirs. Compare your commitments, and try to work out what days are best for you to have the kids, and what days work best for them.
Write up a tentative schedule that honors both of your schedules.
Now that you both know what’s flexible and what isn’t, you need to set to work creating a schedule that honors both of your commitments. If you both have fixed commitments at the same time, discuss options like taking turns to keep the kids on that night, or getting a scheduled babysitter for that evening and splitting the cost. There are lots of ways to work around a hectic schedule, but only if you’re both willing to compromise.
Do you need help creating your parenting time schedule?
When parenting time was known as visitation, the idea was that the parent with greater physical custody had greater say in decisions regarding the rights of the child. However, this is no longer true in Michigan Family Courts. If you feel sidelined by your child’s other parent during your parenting time, then it’s time to discuss your situation with one of the skilled family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm. We are available 24/7 at 866 766 5245 to help you work through your challenges.