Parents going through a separation in Florida should spend some time discussing child custody arrangements. Having a productive conversation may be difficult when tensions are high, but co-parenting – that is, maintaining communications and making parenting decisions together – is typically in a child’s best interests.
Figuring out a general custody schedule.
First, parents should determine whether they want to split custody 50-50 or whether one parent is going to have primary custody. If one parent has sole custody, the other parent should attempt to see the child occasionally on non-custody days, such as by volunteering in the child’s classroom. Similarly, if custody is split 50-50, parents should figure out a custody schedule that does not let the child go too long without seeing one parent or another, since that could cause anxiety.
Different custody options
If parents decide to divide custody equally, the next step is to find a schedule that works for both them and their child’s school routine. If two parents live near each other and can easily trade off, a 2-2-3 custody schedule will make it so that kids never have to go more than three nights without seeing one of their parents. A similar schedule, the 3-4-4-3 schedule, has the same idea but gives parents a little more of a break between turns.
Planning for contingencies
Another factor to consider is how custody will be handled if one parent is sick or unavailable. Parents first should determine whether the other parent or another relative will take the kids when the custodial parent cannot. If parents decide that the non-custodial parent will take the children in an emergency situation, they should decide in advance whether the non-custodial parent will give up one of his or her ordinarily scheduled nights in exchange.
There are clearly many things that come into play when it comes to child custody, and it is best to plan out as much in advance as possible. A Florida-licensed family law attorney could help couples negotiate a schedule that reaches a good middle ground and addresses parents’ and children’s needs.