One of the most difficult parts of a divorce in Indiana is coming to an agreement on child custody and a parenting schedule. Ideally, parents can negotiate an agreement out of court with the assistance of their attorneys. Litigation is also an option, but it takes the decision out of parents’ hands, and they may end up with a schedule neither is happy with.
Focus on the child’s needs
Schedules should be designed with the best interests of the child as the primary consideration. This means parents may need to make sacrifices in some cases. In fact, it is best to go into negotiations with the assumption that there will be compromises. This is not the time to try to get back at the other parent by attempting to seize more parenting time. The focus should be entirely on the child’s well-being. Parents of older children might want to ask them for input into the schedule. This does not mean allowing the child to choose where to live or having the final say but letting them participate in the discussion may be helpful. Whether or not their children are involved, parents should try to imagine what the change will be like for them and make adjustments accordingly.
Schedules and logistics
Logistics are important. If the child will spend a lot of time shuttling back and forth between parents’ homes, it may be easier if parents live near each other. Parents should also take the child’s schedule into account, including future or seasonal activities. For example, the child may have an extracurricular activity that starts later in the year that parents should be aware of. They should try to avoid a schedule that requires the child to give up any activities. Children are already experiencing enough loss, and they should not have to stop doing something they love.
Divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. In addition to reaching an agreement on child custody, parents may also need to divide property. An attorney may be helpful throughout this difficult time.