You will have so many options available for planning your child custody arrangements that it may be difficult to land on the perfect plan for you and your family. You'll also need to balance your own wants and wishes, with those of your ex, and the best interests of your children.
It could help to have a checklist to consider when making your parenting plan.
Consider these issues when creating your parenting plan
Going through each of the items on this list will help you create the most appropriate parenting plan that honors the best interests of your children and the needs of your family:
- The age and temperament of your child: Different ages and stages of children will require different parenting plan approaches. As such, your parenting plan should be flexible enough to grow and change with your child -- and his or her unique temperament -- over time.
- The special needs of your child: Does your child have any characteristics that require special consideration? Does your child have a disability, developmental challenge, educational requirement or something else that could affect the way you divide your parenting time?
- Your child's adaptability: Some children need a more stable home environment than others, and they're better suited to living with one parent and visiting the other parent. Other children can easily thrive with a shifting home, in which they live with both parents 50 percent of the time.
- What's your child's schedule like? Does your child need to go to sports practice or do some other kind of afterschool activities that could dictate the way you organize parenting time?
- Relationships with other family members: Perhaps your child has grown accustomed to living with a certain grandparent. What about other siblings or step-siblings? Will your child be able to maintain strong and beneficial ties with these people in the parenting plan you're considering?
Write down a complete list of factors you need to consider
Every child and family is different. Therefore, a standard checklist will not apply to all situations. As such, you'll want to take some time to make a checklist to consider while establishing a parenting plan. If possible, work with the other spouse -- and learn about Pennsylvania child custody laws -- to create the most suitable childcare and parenting plan arrangements for your children during your divorce.