In It Together: What To Know About Shared Custody
For divorcing couples, there have never been more choices when it comes to child custody. Now often referred to as parenting plans, the parenting configurations available mean more choice but can also mean more confusion for parents trying to make a decision. Shared custody is one of the traditional choices, and there is a good reason for its popularity. Read on to find out about shared, or 50/50, parenting and see if it's the best choice for your family going forward.
Share all the time and responsibilities
Shared custody sounds like an ideal way to deal with divorce but it does have its downsides. If you have two well-meaning parents who feel strongly about being custodial parents, it might be a better way to go than trying to fight it out in court. That being said, what sounds great in theory doesn't always work well in reality.
Understand when it works
Shared custody can allow your children to get the full experience of having both parents caring for them in a manner that might be more similar to that of life before the divorce. The actual arrangements should be created with an eye toward having each parent spend approximately 50% of their time with the child and with them being able to parent 100% of the time. Problems tend to crop up when you least expect it, so the parents must be willing to take responsibility for the child regardless of the day of the week.
Remember key points to consider
This form of custody requires a certain level of skill, so consider these points:
- The parents will be in charge of moving the child back and forth to each other's homes, so this arrangement calls for a second set of belongings to avoid having the child live out of a suitcase.
- The closer the parents live to each other, the easier it will be to go back and forth.
- Communication is a key component in shared custody—parents need to be on the same page when it comes to issues and agree on some basic parenting aspects like discipline, bedtimes, education and more, since having to make a child deal with drastically different modes of parenting on a continual basis is a recipe for a very confused child.
- The older the child, the more organized the parents must be to keep up with all the school, social, sports and other obligations that children have to address, so an online calendar, task list, and reminder system that can be shared is a must.
When it comes to giving the child an opportunity to spend equal amounts of time with both parents and to benefit from both parents' input, shared custody is an unbeatable choice. Speak to your divorce attorney for more information about this and the many other parenting choices available to divorcing parents.