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Structuring a post-divorce parenting plan

When Indiana couples decide to end their marriage, it can be an emotional process. It can be even harder when they have young children, and unless one of the parents has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse, most family law judges will award both parents liberal access to their offspring, following the "best interests of the child" maxim.

However, it is not necessary to have a court make a decision on child custody and visitation. Many couples, despite the differences that led to their becoming estranged, are able to negotiate a co-parenting plan on their own which they then submit to the court for its approval. In some cases, they might consider a shared physical custody arrangement that involves alternating weeks. However, while it is simple to arrange, this is not always best for the children.

For starters, children will have to go for a week without seeing the other parent. This can result in depression and other psychological issues. The work schedules of each parent can often come into play as well, in terms of pickups from and drop-offs to schools or daycare. Another reason that such a child custody arrangement might be problematic is if the former spouses do not get along with each other, as this can affect phone calls from and dinner visits by the parent who doesn't have custody that week.

For younger children, in particular, a better schedule might be one in which they spend three days with one parent one week and then four with the same parent the next week, switching back and forth. People who want to have parenting time that works both for them and for their children might want to meet with a family law attorney and discuss the matter.

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Robert Schembs
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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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