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Parenting plans based on child development

Many divorced parents in New York have trouble agreeing on a custody schedule. If they put the children's best interests first, however, the outcome will likely be better for everyone involved.

One thing parents may want to consider is the age of the child and the most recent research on child development. For example, it can be important for infants to spend most of their time with the main caregiver. However, they still need to have the opportunity to bond with the other parent. This might be a few hours on two or three days each week. Eventually, young kids can transition into overnight visits. Since small children often have trouble comprehending time, they may need to be reminded frequently about when they'll see the other parent. Preschoolers should be able to start spending two days and a night with the noncustodial parent.

The process may get easier once children are old enough to go to school since they'll soon be used to a routine and time away from either parent. As children get older and become teenagers, parents will need to accommodate their schedules and independence. If the divorce happens when the children are older, parents should also be prepared for strong reactions. That's why parents should consider taking the wishes of older children into account when it comes to determining a visitation schedule.

If parents cannot reach an agreement on custody or visitation, a judge will base the decision on the child's best interests. While it can be difficult for them to spend time away from their children, courts generally believe children should have time with both parents. Legal counsel could help a divorced parent throughout the negotiation process.

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