Kennedy Law Associates

Creating a custody plan that is age-appropriate

Parents in North Carolina who decide to divorce may have to rapidly change their relationship with one another. It can be challenging to adapt to co-parenting for any divorcing couple, even those who have a relatively amicable understanding with their former partners. Co-parenting can require a great deal of patience and communication, but a solid parenting plan can help get things started in a positive direction. The approach to child custody and schedules can vary depending on how old the children were when the divorce took place, and the parenting plan can take that into account and plan for changes later.

In most cases, infants and very small children rely strongly on a primary caregiver. They may be adjusting to sleeping through the night, toilet training and other developments that often require a great deal of structure. Even if the child remains mostly with the primary caregiver during this period, however, he or she should still have a lot of regularly scheduled time with his or her other parent. Parent-child bonding is essential, and quality time together at any age can play a critical role.

Slightly older children could begin right away with more traditional shared custody arrangements. At the same time, because these still young children often have difficulty understanding concepts of time, they may need to be frequently reminded that they will see their other parent soon. Phone calls or video chats with the other parent may help prevent separation anxiety.

As the kids get older, they will become more accustomed to handling changing schedules at home as well as at school. As this happens, flexibility may become important for both parents. When a parent is divorcing, a family law attorney can work with him or her to negotiate a parenting plan that protects his or her bond with his or her children and looks toward the future.

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