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How do I evaluate my parenting plan?

As children throughout the country are entering into a new school year, many freshly divorced parents are getting their first real taste of the advantages and disadvantages of their newly ordered parenting plans. Courts do their best to issue orders that will make for the best quality of life for the child at the heart of a parenting plan, but often the expectations of what is needed and what is doable for each parent do not accurately anticipate the reality. It is good to be mindful of your expectations, the needs of the child and the actual ability of you and your former spouse to communicate when evaluating your parenting time plan.

It is extremely common for the negotiation of a parenting plan to be an emotional experience, and this can lead to many parents to seek an unfair time allotment during the proceedings. While this can be satisfying in the short-term, it may backfire on you and create expectations in the long run that are very difficult to fulfill and may ultimately hurt your credibility to both your former child and your spouse. If, after honestly assessing the plan for the first few weeks or months of a school year, you realize that your particular plan is unfair to both your spouse and your child, you can always contact an experienced custody attorney to help make any adjustments that will be in the best interests of all parties.

Often, what seem to be a child's needs when you are negotiating a parenting time plan are no longer the primary needs of that child after even a few months. Children can be remarkably resilient with proper support and encouragement, and being the best parent you can be may mean coordinating with your former spouse and making changes to the plan to suit the changing needs of the child you both love.

Finally, you may find that your ability to communicate well with your former spouse is not what you had hoped. Keeping with your agreed schedule may require extra work you did not anticipate to keep your child's other parent in the loop while giving your child the care and attention he or she deserve.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Back to School: 3 Ways To Tell If Your Child Custody Agreement Is The Right Fit," Bari Zell Weinberger, accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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