For the most part, divorcing parents come to mediation with the idea that they will share custody of the kids. Usually, clients want to spend some time each week with their children. Still, shared custody can take many forms, and what the final parenting schedule looks like can vary depending on the needs of the family. The key to a successful post-divorce parenting plan is combining both consistency and flexibility.
At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we work with divorcing clients to create parenting plans that will work for now and continue to make sense as their children grow. In some cases, the divorcing couple chooses a 50/50 plan. In 50/50 arrangements, parents share parenting evenly. These agreements can be a great choice as long as parents live near each other and are prepared to work together to juggle schedules and responsibilities. See 50/50 Parenting Plans. Other parents share time by having the kids live primarily with one parent during the week, while the other parent spends time with the children on some evenings and/or on weekends or over school breaks. These plans can also be a good option for some families.
Really, the most important factor contributing to a parenting plan's success is the divorcing parents' commitment to making it work. That means that each parent has to uphold their part of the agreement. It also means that when life intervenes, and a schedule needs to be modified - either temporarily or for the long-term - the parents are willing to accommodate the changing needs of their children and their exes.