There are several things that parents in Pennsylvania can do during a divorce to ensure that their parenting schedule works for them and their children as well as several things to avoid. Parents should try to look at the situation from the point of view of their children and think about what they are giving up and what challenges they may face.
What to do
Parents may need to keep some logistics in mind. For example, if their children will be going back and forth between their homes frequently, they may need to live close to one another. Ideally, children will be able to keep the same babysitter or child care provider since fewer changes can make the adjustment process less difficult for them. Older children may want some input into the custody schedule. This does not mean that parents ultimately must do what their children want, but children will benefit from the opportunity to express their feelings on the topic. Of course, parents of children with special needs may need to take some additional factors into consideration.
What not to do
The custody schedule may be somewhat disruptive to a parent’s life, but parents should keep in mind that it is supposed to be designed with the best interests of the child as the main focus. They should not look on the schedule as a chance to get revenge or think of it as a win-lose situation. If they have been the main caregiver, they may worry that the other parent does not have the necessary experience to care for the children, but the other parent can learn those skills as well. Parents may want to go into negotiations with the assumption that they will probably need to compromise on some points.
Child custody negotiations can be one of the more difficult parts of the divorce process, but this does not mean that parents must end up fighting in court. It is often possible to reach an agreement through a process of negotiation, which parents can do with the assistance of their respective attorneys.