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Child custody: Parenting schedule ensures fair time allocation

Whether separated or divorced, an important decision to be made by parents is how to deal with visitation. As part of the child custody agreement, Minnesota parents may benefit from working toward creating a schedule to be followed to ensure that each parent sees the children as much as possible. Establishing fair parenting time is a good start to solving what many consider to be a difficult problem. 

A negotiated and agreed upon parenting schedule can lay the foundation for a parenting plan that can address aspects such as the responsibilities of each parent, as well as child support. Arriving at a fair agreement ensures an outcome that is best for the whole family. However, while compiling a parenting schedule, there are a number of aspects that should be kept in mind.  

The first thing parents have to keep in mind is the best interests of their children. This means scheduling fair visitation should not be seen by parents as a competition. It is much more important to consider their children's lives and how the planned schedule will influence them. Another important aspect is to consider is the impact a schedule will have on the parents. In the planning consideration should be given to the work schedules of both parties and costs arising from increased traveling and child care.

Parents should also think about the impact of school holidays and special occasions. One may have to save vacation time, plan for additional costs if needed to make use of caregivers, or balance plans for the children to attend summer camp. Another aspect to consider is the value of asking children for their inputs in the plan. While older children may value their ideas been considered, parents still need to realize that all requests will not always be practical and possible to grant.

Lastly one has to also keep in mind that things change and therefore flexibility may be called for, from time to time. Parenting is difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to agreeing about parenting issues during divorce, Minnesota parents may benefit from involving a mediator in negotiations regarding child custody. Mediation may assist in laying a strong foundation for how the parties come to an agreement and embark on a cooperative co-parenting plan.                    

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