There are a number of ways that separated parents in New York can approach creating a parenting schedule that will work for everyone involved. Parents should start by thinking about how the situation looks for their children and what they stand to gain or lose.

The parenting schedule is not an opportunity for one parent to “win” while the other loses, nor should it be used as a weapon to get back at an ex. Parents should focus on the best interests of the children when creating the schedule. This could mean thinking about how to maintain some consistency, such as keeping the same babysitter the children are used to.

When creating the schedule, there are a number of factors that parents should take into account. They should think about logistics, including how the children will get to school from each of their homes, how far apart their homes are and what the kids’ extracurricular activities are. There may be additional considerations for children with special needs. Older children may be invited to have input into the schedule; although, its final form is ultimately up to the parent. While all the child’s wishes do not necessarily have to be granted, parents should prepare for the likelihood that elements of the schedule may inconvenience them.

Creating a parenting schedule for custody and visitation can be a particularly stressful part of the divorce. It forces parents to confront the fact that the divorce means they will no longer have as much time with their children. However, building a schedule that works for both parents and children can be a critical foundation for a healthy co-parenting relationship. Establishing good communication may mean parents can work out differences informally rather than having to return to court each time they have a disagreement.