In every break up, the adjustment to parenting time is a challenge for everyone. What I have observed however, is that once a pattern falls into place, the schedule can be very good for everyone if the schedule is geared towards what is in the best interests of the kids.
Almost every day, I talk to a parent who cannot imagine being away from their child for a whole weekend much less a whole week. The end result, is often quality time for the kids with both parents and some time off from parenting for the parents.
The process of getting to that schedule can be daunting. I recommend that families practice different schedules. Start with every other weekend and then add in weeknights. Try having a weekend extend to Monday morning. The person with parenting time takes full responsibility for the children. Meals, baths, bedtime, school work, play dates, activities – everything. The other parent takes a weekend off. Read a book, take a trip, visit a friend or family member. Discuss this with the children in advance making it clear that both parents are always there for them, but there will be changes.
The parent with the weekend “off” should not jump in to help or correct and the parent with primary responsibilities is encouraged to avoid asking for assistance. Doing this while everyone is living in one home together provides a great safety net for the parents and the children. I encourage couples to try different parenting schedules to see what works best for the family.
Very often, the parent who doubts the other parent’s parenting skills is able to see first hand that the children are safe and happy. Or, if that is not the case, adjustments can be made before a final order is entered with the court.
Wakeman Law Group
741 S. McHenry Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014