Why equally shared co-parenting requires flexibility

Increasingly, divorcing parents are working out 50/50 custody agreements so that they can both remain involved in their children’s lives. While sharing parenting time equally is often best for the kids, it also requires parents to be more flexible than a schedule that gives one parent primary custody.

With a 50/50 schedule, each parent typically has the kids for several days or maybe a week at a time. You may wonder what you need to do if something inevitably comes up that makes it challenging, if not completely impossible, to take the kids during your scheduled time.

You might need to occasionally change your custody schedule

Maybe one of you has to go out of town for a work-related event when you’d normally be caring for the children. Perhaps one of you has to spend a few days out-of-state with a family member who’s having surgery during your parenting time.

Further, things may come up in your children’s lives that just one of you should be there for. Maybe there’s a daddy-daughter dance on one of mom’s nights. Perhaps a grandparent is having a big birthday bash that they want the kids to attend.

It’s crucial to have a schedule worked out and included in your custody order and parenting plan and to try to stick to that schedule as much as possible. A consistent parenting schedule is important not just for the children but for the parents as well.

The importance of being flexible and reasonabl

However, it’s also essential that both parents be flexible and reasonable when situations like the ones described above come up. You could add some language in your parenting plan that both of you agree to consider reasonable changes requested by your co-parent or your children. You can add details about how far in advance you need to request the change (unless it’s an emergency) and how many trade-offs each parent can request.

If you’re willing to be flexible, your co-parent will likely be more inclined to return the favor. If your co-parent is constantly asking for changes for anything less than family or work obligations, it might be necessary to modify your schedule. However, if you can make your original schedule work for a while, you can help your children adjust to their “new normal” and feel secure in knowing that there’s consistency built into their routine.

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