Going through a divorce can be among the most stressful events of a person’s life. The process in Virginia, as well as other states, is often complicated and costly, in terms of both time and emotion. In cases where the parties have children together, the emotional toll is only increased, and the development of a child custody or co-parenting arrangement is among the primary issues. While many cases result in a co-parenting schedule where the parents take custody of the children on alternating weeks, that arrangement may not be the best for the kids.
Generally speaking, a co-parenting plan or custody agreement is a document that sets forth how the parents will raise the children after the divorce. It outlines how they will make important decisions regarding the children, how they’ll divide expenses and how they’ll split time with the kids. Most experts recommend a 50/50 split of time if possible because it’s important for children to have relationships with each of their parents. Alternating weeks, though, can cause separation anxiety as a week can be a long time for a child to be away from a parent.
Alternating weeks can also be hard to do if the parents don’t get along and it can be difficult to manage along with work. For younger children especially, an alternative schedule may work better. Some of the options include a 2-2-3 schedule, two days with one parent, two with the other, then three with the first again, flip-flopping each week, a 3-4-4-3 schedule or a 5-2 schedule.
An attorney who has experience handling divorce cases might be able to help interested parties understand and evaluate the various co-parenting schedules available. In contentious divorces, an attorney may be able to help by negotiating with the other side on the client’s behalf, by locating hidden assets or by putting forth arguments during child custody hearings.