With divorcing parents realizing that equal parenting time is usually the best option for children, many families instinctively default to an every-other-week parenting plan. While this does ensure that parents have equal access to the children and that fathers’ rights are safeguarded, parents in Missouri may find that it isn’t the best option for their family.
Parenting plans that simply alternate weeks often fail both parents and children. For parents, it may not be a good fit for their work schedule or for arranging childcare when needed. A week is also a long enough stretch that the children will probably want to see the absent parent. This has the potential to create unnecessary conflict. While it may be a suitable schedule for older children, who often have their own phones and can make their own arrangements, it’s usually not ideal for younger children.
Schedules that reduce the number of days children spend at each house may, at first glance, seem like more work, but they often suit the needs of younger children. A 2-2-3 schedule, where the children spend two days with one parent, two days with the other and then three days with the first parent, alternating the following week, is often a great option for everyone. While it seems a little more complicated, it minimizes the time children are away from either parent. It also keeps both parents active in the children’s daily routines without the longer downtime of alternating weeks.
Regardless of which plan parents ultimately choose, settling all of the issues in a divorce with young children can be overwhelming. An attorney with experience in all areas of family law, including child custody and child support, may be able to help parents decide on a parenting plan that works for everyone.