Of the many things that must be sorted out following a divorce, the schedule of contact that each parent will have with minor children is among the most important and most challenging. Divorcing spouses often base their schedules on current conditions, but it’s far better to base them on five different schedules with the understanding that a child’s age and needs will change over time.
With the assistance of a family lawyer in Monroe NC, keep the following considerations in mind as you develop a parental contact schedule:
1. Establish a Defined Schedule
Ex-spouses who are on amicable terms often think they don’t need a fixed contact schedule. Relationships have ups and downs, however, so it’s best to have a set schedule. You can ignore it and then invoke it when needed.
2. Keep Pre-Breakup Involvement and Contact in Mind
Consider how often and in what capacity each parent was involved with the child before the split. Should it stay the same? Why should it change? The answer needs to be based on the best interests of the child.
3. Child Should Generally Have Equal Involvement With Both Parents
The schedule should ensure that the child is equally involved with both parents. If one parent opposes this, they must prove why. If the child would be at risk with regular contact with one parent, considerations need to be made as to the types of limitations on contact, intervention and supervision that will be needed.
4. Both Parents Need to be Actively Involved
The schedule should give each parent equal amounts of responsible time and recreational time with the child. For instance, chores and homework should be completed in both homes. Similarly, both parents should be involved in extracurricular and school activities. The child shouldn’t only do fun things with one parent and only responsible things with the other.