When parents in Virginia get a divorce, one of the challenges they face is designing a parenting schedule that suits them and their children. While this should be created with the best interests of the children as the guiding principle, parents also need to take their own schedules and capabilities into account.
Needs of the children
For example, parents should consider where they live in relation to the child’s school, child care provider, extracurricular activities and how much disruption the child will experience in moving to their home. Minimal disruption should be the goal. It may be appropriate to get input from older children.
Setting aside conflict
Parents should also avoid introducing their own interpersonal conflicts and dynamics into creating the schedule. This is not another opportunity to “win” or “lose” the larger divorce battle or a place to get revenge. They should keep in mind that they can each be good parents apart from the issues they may have with one another as spouses.
Trying out the schedule
The schedule should deal only with the current situation and should not be built upon assumptions that a parent will make a substantial change in the future, such as moving to be closer to the child’s school. Parents should try out the schedule for a few weeks and see how it works for them and their children with a willingness to go back and revise it if there are weaknesses.
Even a schedule that works well at the time will probably need to be revised at some point as the child’s needs and schedule change. In the meantime, parents should make an effort to be as consistent as possible while also being flexible and forgiving if one of them has to make occasional changes to the plan. Both parents’ attorneys may help them negotiate the best possible schedule.