What is an Effective Co Parenting Calendar?
Also called a visitation schedule, custody schedule or parenting time calendar, a co-parenting calendar is an important part of your divorce proceedings. An effective co-parenting calendar takes into account the physical, emotional and developmental needs of the children before anything else, before the needs wants and desires of the parents even. It will ensure that the children continue to have stable care and as much consistency as possible without denting their need to have both parents fully in their lives.
Why Do We Need a Calendar?
A co-parenting calendar makes it clear who has responsibility for the children when so that they don’t slip between the cracks and there are minimized conflicts over parenting time and responsibility. The more detailed the calendar, the less opportunity for conflict.
Here are some of the benefits of a detailed co-parenting calendar:
- A set schedule can help everyone adapt to life after your divorce
- You and the other parent know exactly what is happening on any given day
- You can make regular and consistent plans for your children, such as music lessons
- Your children will feel more secure and self-confident knowing their schedule in advance
- You and the other parent can plan a consistent parenting routine at both homes
- You may reduce your legal costs because there are fewer disagreements on visitations
- It reduces the potential for arguments, miscommunication and conflict over visitations
What information do I need before making a co-parenting calendar?
When you and the other parent sit down together to create a co-parenting calendar, it helps to have all the actual dates, times and other scheduling details in front of you.
Because you and the other parent are dealing with approximately a year’s worth of scheduling, you should not rely on your memory or guesswork when creating a parenting time schedule.
Here are some of the things you should have with you when creating a co-parenting calendar:
- Beginning and ending times for each child’s school, including any shortened days
- Beginning and ending times for each child’s extracurricular activities, such as music lessons
- Days off of school, such as teacher preparation days or school breaks
- Days of state or national holidays, such as President’s Day
- Beginning and ending of summer vacation
- Any third party visitations, such as spending a week with grandparents in the summer
- Any other holiday or event, such as religious celebrations or vacations
Here are some things to avoid when creating a co-parenting calendar:
- Avoid lengthy overnight visits for small children.
- Be Careful about the number of transitions between households in a week.
- Don’t have to many unreasonable transition times, such as early in the morning or late at night.
- Avoid restricting the children’s access to the non-custodial parent unless the other parent is found unfit by the court.
- Avoid excessive travel if the two residences are too far apart.
Once I Have A Working Plan How Do I Make Sure It’s Working?
You can ensure your co-parenting calendar is meeting your children’s needs by noting in a parenting journal that keeps notes on the children’s experience ranging from your children’s temperament to any missed visitations. By keeping a parenting journal, you will begin to recognize patterns in your children’s behaviors and note any parts of the schedule that just don’t work. Not only this aid in working with the co-parent if changes are needed, but should you need to make a legal change, the court will always be more receptive to documentation over unsupported opinion.
What if the other parent doesn’t want to make a co-parenting calendar?
If the other parent refuses to make a co parenting calendar, you are better off producing one than not. It shows that you are actively engaged in your children’s well being and willing to consider their need for their other parent.