How do we split our children's time?
The million pound question!
So what's the right answer?
The right answer is that it depends on what is right for your child/children. Any agreement NEEDS to have their wellbeing at the heart of it. A child's wellbeing is a parent's number 1 priority.
That's not to say that your own needs aren't important - but you need to remember that these are not your needs for time with your kids, it's your needs with respect to work, logistics, and commitments.
And what I mean by this, in simplistic terms, is that any schedule that you and your ex agree has to work for you as parents too. Otherwise you're own wellbeing is in question, and that will, in turn, damage your children.
And don't forget - a child has the right to love and spend time with both of their parents (*dependant on any addiction/abuse) - it is not their fault that you don't love each other anymore.
Below are various example schedules that you could use, and there are lots more variations. Dad and Mum can be interchanged, nights can be changed, length of time at each parent can be changed etc.
Factors that any schedule could depend on (and there are always more, but to start with):
A child's age, or if more than 1 child it will need to be a balance of consideration - Dependant on their age will be the time spent away from either parent e.g. a younger child would probably struggle with 1 week on and 1 week off, they would more likely benefit from seeing both parents more regularly than this
The number of transitions in your schedule...some children are better with less, some are ok with more
The number of nights in each transition - some children need more than 1 night in any place to feel safe and secure in their own minds..
The locations of both parents in relation to any nursery/school - is it logistically possible? If you are doing week nights then you need to be able to logistically manage..
What role has either parent played to date in the kids upbringing and care? A child will be used to a certain amount of input from either parent, try and keep things as consistent as possible - so don't suddenly remove all contact with a parent that has historically taken your children to school every day, if you can help it..
What role does each parent see themselves playing, and how (if different) in the future? As per above, but a parent may choose to change career/input following separation in order that they play a more significant role in their children's lives (or less)..
Wider family locations - Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc are all vital to a child, and even more so when their parents are splitting up...try not to suddenly remove them
Childcare location - Childcare/Nursery/School is one of the consistent for a child...and this is critical in a parental separation/divorce as their world as they know it has been turned upside-down...try and keep this the same if possible..
A parent's job and it's demands/location - Much as it can be tempting to try and get the world with regards to nights with your children after separation/divorce...make sure it's actually possible with your job. If it's not, what's the plan...and is it right for the kids? Be very honest with yourself..
A parent's ability to logistically house a child (this can sometimes be at a relatives, not always their own place) - Not everyone can afford to have their own place, but they need to have a safe and consistent place for their children to visit/stay..
It is always best to try and reach an agreement with your ex (if you can) on what is right for your child/children, whether it be between yourselves, with the support of a divorce coach, or through mediation.
Only you know your children.
Obviously this isn't always possible and people, understandably, resort to the legal process. This can involve significant time and expense.
The court process, and those involved, do not know your children. IF things go to the final hearing (there are usually up to 3 hearings) then a stranger may take a view on what is in the best interests of your kids.
You will be encouraged during the process to come to an agreement together as it is widely understood that you are the parents and therefore the best placed to make decisions for your children.
No-one will wave a magic wand and give you the correct answer unfortunately.
That is why it is sometimes better to talk things through with a divorce coach or a mediator to look at the options.
If I can help more then please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call me on 07814009408