When parents in New Jersey divorce, they will need to create a parenting schedule. There are things parents can do to make this process smoother and things they should take steps to avoid.
Parents should think about what the schedule is going to look like for their children. While moving back and forth between parents’ homes can be stressful for children, having less time with each parent is stressful as well. Parents should think about what children will gain and lose with the changes. They should also take logistics into account. For example, parents may need to consider childcare options as well as options for getting children to school from each of their residences. They should take children’s extracurricular activities into account. There may be additional points to consider if the children have special needs. Finally, parents might want to involve older children in making the parenting schedule.
Parents should avoid aiming for the most convenient solution. Putting the children first means that sometimes parents will be inconvenienced. They should also avoid thinking about the parenting schedule in terms of winning or losing or as a way to hurt the other spouse. Parents should avoid assuming the other parent is not competent or that they can make solid future plans based on things that have not yet happened, such as one parent moving closer.
There are a number of different arrangements for the parenting schedule that may work well for the family. Parents may be worried that it will be difficult for the child to move around too much during the week, but they may actually find that a schedule where the child spends a few nights weekly with one parent and a few nights with the other works well. On the other hand, they might want to have the child spend alternate weeks with each parent.