Child custody arrangements with school-aged children can be difficult. Parents have to re-arrange schedules, coordinate meetings, and be available for much more than just evenings at home. However, sometimes issues arise in the middle of the school year that requires even further changes.
Maybe one of the parents gets a new job and has to move, a previous custody agreement gets modified, or something else occurs that requires a change in parenting plans. Here are a few things to consider if you are forced to make changes to a child custody arrangement during the school year.
Consistency is important for children. Look at your previous custody arrangement and try to keep any new arrangements as consistent as possible. Children become accustomed to where they live during the week and stay on the weekends. It's important that this is continued if possible. If you do need to change your child's itinerary, remain consistent with the new plan. Don't change things week to week, as this can create confusion and stress with children.
Consider the holidays
Now that you have a new schedule for your children, you'll need to come to an agreement about the days off. Holidays can be a big source of disagreement among divorced parents, and this can wreak havoc with child custody arrangements. If possible, put specific provisions in your new custody arrangement that deal with how holidays will be split up among the parents so that there is no room for dispute.
When you make changes to a custody arrangement, be realistic about what you are able to commit to each week. If you have a demanding career, you may not be the best parent to volunteer for extracurricular activities like music lessons or sports.
Put your children first
In the end, understand that the custody arrangement is about what's best for your children. Custody has nothing to do with getting what you want, hurting your ex-spouse, or even equity in parental duties. It has everything to do with making sure that your children are provided for by the best parent available to do the job at the time.
There are times when a custody arrangement needs to be adjusted. The need for something different becomes clear when life circumstances change or children get older. When this happens, making decisions based on the children's needs is always the best choice. An attorney can help you understand your options and protect your parental rights.