With few exceptions, the days when one parent received primary custody of the children during a divorce with the other getting limited visitation time have passed. Rather, the courts and many parents favor arrangements where both parents continue to share in the rights, responsibilities and joys of raising their children. Thus, many opt for shared parenting agreements.
As you navigate parenting while no longer married or living with your child’s other parent, you may face a variety of challenges. Having a thorough parenting plan in place may help remain focused on your child and overcome these issues with as little disruption to your relationships as possible.
Residence and decision-making
According to the Administrative Office of York County Courts, in your parenting plan, you should indicate whether you and your child’s other parent intend to share physical custody, or if one of you will have primary or sole custody. In the event you choose a shared parenting arrangement, you must indicate a proposed schedule for which days your child will reside with you and his or her other parent.
In addition to specifying with whom your child will reside and when, you must also decide how you will make important decisions regarding your child’s health and upbringing. You may choose to share these responsibilities, or you may decide that you or your child’s other parent will have sole legal custody.
Holidays and vacations
Beyond a general weekly schedule, you should also include how you will share holidays and vacations. This includes occasions such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as breaks from school. For example, you may decide to alternate, you having your child for holidays on even years and your ex-spouse having him or her for holidays on odd years, or that your child will spend certain holidays with you and others with his or her other parent.