Creating a co-parenting plan with your former spouse is essential for helping your children adjust to their new lives after a divorce, which can be an extremely vulnerable time filled with uncertainty.

A joint custody parenting schedule should not only be viewed as a way to divide responsibilities for raising your kids, but also as an opportunity to show them that you and your ex can work together for their benefit.

The dos and don’ts of establishing a parenting schedule

Many considerations come to light for parents when creating a plan. Some of the most important to weigh or avoid are:

  • Consider what your children stand to gain or lose
  • Be detailed on how to handle transportation between households
  • Be aware of your kids’ school and after-school activities
  • Decide whether your children will have any input over the plan
  • Address how to handle any special needs
  • Don’t make decisions based on convenience
  • Don’t think of it as winning or losing
  • Don’t use the schedule to get back at your ex
  • Don’t assume you are the only qualified parent
  • Don’t set conditions that are unlikely to be met

Avoid overreacting to early challenges

Once you have a plan in place, give it some time before you determine it won’t work. Changes can be made later on but sticking with the plan for up to a month usually gives you enough time to work out the kinks. Showing your kids that you can still work together can help them cope with the challenges of having two households. However, if you find that you can’t agree on a plan, an experienced family law attorney here in Tennessee can represent you in court.