Going through a divorce is not just hard on the two adults whose marriage is ending. It is also hard on the couple’s children. Their lives will be changed entirely based on a decision out of their hands. While there will inevitably be a number of changes, the goal of custody and parenting time orders is to do what is in the best interests of the children.
Part of the goal of a parenting time schedule is to keep as much continuity for the children as possible. This involves more than just determining when the children will be with both parents. Parents can develop a parenting plan that considers the children’s lives and needs based on the different phases of life that they are in at the time.
Children’s needs at different stages of life
Infants need a strict routine and parents should develop parenting time schedules that they know they will be able to easily keep as infants need more strict routines. Parents also need to discuss infants’ developmental needs and keep the other parent informed of what foods the infant is eating at their respective homes.
As infants grow to be school-aged, they are able to adjust to changes in a schedule better, but parents need to understand their children’s various activities schedules and other aspects of their children’s changing social needs. The parenting time schedules should keep the activities schedules in mind and parents may need to be flexible.
Eventually, as children grow to be teenagers, they will be able to have more input into what schedule works best for them and parents need to be even more flexible as the teenager’s focus will be on their friends and other aspects of their lives instead of their parents.
Parenting plans in New Jersey can be set when children are young and parents may need to adjust their schedules as the children grow. While nothing is perfect, parents should keep their focus on their children when developing schedules and plans. Developing these parenting time plans and schedules is not easy though, especially during an emotional divorce. Experienced attorneys understand how to develop parenting plans and may be able to guide parents through the process.