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Setting the Parenting Time Schedule

When a couple divorces, there are a lot of changes both for the parents and for the children.  One of the issues to be handled is setting the parenting time schedule.  This is the schedule, agreed to by both parents, that lays out which parent will have the child/children on specific days.

Normally, there’s a stipulation for major holidays.  You may find it workable to alternate between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For instance, parent #1 has them for Thanksgiving this year, but Christmas for next year.  You’ll also want to determine the schedules for birthdays, spring break and summer vacations.

A major consideration is often the work schedules for each parent.  If one parent needs to travel for work, this factor can influence when they would be available or unavailable.

It’s going to be an adjustment for everyone.  There may be emotional flair-ups regarding someone being late or something coming up which interferes with the schedule.  You’ll need to learn to roll with the changes as they arise.  Remember, it could by you who needs a little flexibility the next time it happens.  So, while setting the parenting time schedule provides the primary framework, just as if you were still married, there will always be unforeseen issues.  As difficult as it may be, remember that your child is watching how you act and react.

The fitness of the parent used to be a significant issue.  The court now seems to have moved beyond this issue, assuming there are no important reasons to argue that one parent is unfit to have visitation with the child/children.  Both of you are parents and the court is trying to do its best to ensure a fair and equitable agreement is reached.

The courts have discretion in helping the parents to have adequate time to bond with the child.  There’s a focus on allowing for “meaningful time” with the child.  The parties, the attorneys and the judge will attempt to achieve this when it comes to setting the parenting time schedule.