Scheduling Your Child Custody Parenting Plan

When you have children, it can be difficult to manage your schedule. You must balance time with work, errands, and any other responsibilities.

This effort doubles when the parents are not together. Now, the simple act of seeing the children involves travel time, pick-ups and drop-offs, and more complications.

Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. That solution is your parenting plan. Sometimes, parents make the mistake of just assigning broad terms like, “Parent B gets the children on weekends” without really considering how everything will work. A good parenting plan, however, can get down to the smallest details and help make everything run smoothly.

Here are some tips for creating a detailed parenting plan that can help you manage your life.

Make Sure Your Plan Includes Specific Times

More than just expecting Parent B to get the kids “on weekends” or “every other weekend,” build in a specific schedule. Parent B must be at a certain place at a certain time. For instance, they pick the kids up at 6:00 pm on Friday and drop them off at 3:00 pm on Sunday.

Give Roles to Parents

Specifically assign transportation pick-ups and drop-offs.

Here’s an example:

Parent A must have the kids ready and available at a certain location by a certain time. Parent B is responsible for picking the kids up at that location by a certain time, and they must drop them off at a different location when returning them.

Plan for Holidays

There are many ways to manage holidays. You may celebrate different days in your family, but for many Americans, the two major holidays are Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Here are some ways to handle the major holidays in your home, whatever they may be.

  • Swap
    One parent gets the kids for Thanksgiving, and the other gets them for Christmas. Next year, you swap holidays. Keep doing this each year.
  • Stay Consistent
    You can also assign certain holidays to certain parents. Parent B, for instance, has the kids for every Thanksgiving, and Parent A has them for every Christmas.

Parent-Specific Holidays

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can cause points of contention. The dates of these holidays change every year, always falling on a Sunday. If you are a weekend parent, or if you are a primary parent with a rigid schedule, these days can cause real logistical problems.

Here are some options for Parent’s Days, birthdays, and so on:

  • Modify Your Schedule Around These Days
    You can keep a rigid schedule and still allow for exceptions. For example, you can allow kids to be with a certain parent for their special day but keep the schedule consistent otherwise.
  • Allow No Exceptions
    For some, it’s easier to simply follow the plan in place, never breaking it. You can keep the kids with their designated parent, regardless of which celebrations come and go. The parent who misses their day can plan to celebrate the following Monday or make other arrangements.

Do Whatever Works for You

Some of these suggestions may feel too rigid. People often want to have room for adjustments to their schedules. However, it’s also helpful to put these details on paper, and that paper becomes a court-approved plan. That way, everyone knows exactly what to expect, and they can plan around these obligations.

The overall point is this: Your parenting plan can be whatever you want it to be, but making it rigid and specific can protect everyone involved.

The Law Office of Pamela C. Bratcher is here to help parents create a reasonable, consistent parenting plan. We provide mediation services, and if necessary, we can help you negotiate a fair plan in court. For a free consultation, fill out our online contact form or call us at (270) 977-8910.