Articles Tagged with parenting

On this blog, we’ve previously discussed the ways that a parenting plan can adjust to the needs of children as they grow and change. Parenting plans can also be drafted to fit the needs of the parents. This can include work schedules. Our clients are not all 9-5 employees. Some work nights, some work swing shift, others work schedules that require them to work several days in a row and then take several days off. For unmarried parents with these types of schedules, more conventional parenting plans may not work.

Some people aren’t aware of the ways a parenting plan can be written to fit their life. For example, instead of having the kids every other weekend, plans can include provisions that adjust based on the work schedule of either or both parents (perhaps providing one parent three weekends in a row, then the other two weekends in a row). As another example, families working night or swing shifts might prefer having their residential time with their children start in the morning following their shift instead of in the evening after school.

It is our goal to draft parenting plans that fit our clients’ families. We work to ensure that we know our clients, and how their work schedules might affect their time with their kids. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your parenting plan or other family law issue.

It’s hard to believe that September is more than half over. School supplies have been opened and used, new clothes worn and homework assigned. Families with school-age children are getting back into the routine of school five days a week. As has been previously discussed on this blog, children of divorced parents are often also adjusting to a different (school schedule) residential schedule. Some kids have been through this transition before. For some kids, this is the first time they are dealing with a new school year as part of a two-home family. The Huffington Post recently published an article entitled “How Our Schools Can Better Serve Children of Divorce.”

As previously suggested on this blog, and as suggested in the article, parents can do many things to make the transition back to school easier on children of divorce. The article suggests (and we agree) that parents should let the school know that the children are going through (or have recently been through) a divorce. Parents can ask teachers of elementary age children and (perhaps more appropriately) guidance counselors of middle school or high school students whether they are seeing any issues with the child that may be attributed to stress at home. If the adults at school are seeing issues, it may be time to consult with a counselor trained in dealing with children of divorce. Kids are at school for many hours each day. Teachers and other school staff can be a divorcing (or divorced) parent’s ally in helping kids adjust.

Transitioning from summer to school schedules, sun to rain, and free play to structure can be enough to deal with. If your child is also dealing with a new family structure, it might be good to give their well-being some extra thought and attention.

The summer is a busy time of year for many families. This can be especially true for two-home families (i.e. families in which the parents of the children are not married and/or live in separate homes). In addition to attending summer camps, daycare, playdates and barbeques kids are often experiencing a different residential schedule than they are used to.

Many two-home families vary their school schedule from their summer schedule within their parenting plan or residential schedule. This often makes sense, because the children’s schedules can vary so widely from their school year schedule. Many non-primary residential parents use this as an opportunity to spend more time with their kids. Some use it as a time to travel, camp, or just enjoy additional time together. For many, their summer schedule is more enjoyable than their school year schedule. Some families maintain their school year schedules during the summer. This can be due to work conflicts (i.e. the parents have to work traditional schedules year round and thus would be unable to enjoy the additional time with the kids anyway), or to provide continuity for the kids.

No matter what the reason, or the schedule, if it works for the parents and the kids, the plan is likely a keeper. However, if you don’t currently have a parenting plan or residential schedule in place, or if your parenting plan doesn’t fit you and your kids’ current needs, please contact us so that we can discuss your options for this summer or next.

Most parents in the process of creating or modifying a parenting plan know that they will have to determine a residential schedule for their children. While this is obviously a very important part of the plan, there are other not-so-obvious considerations that should be considered (and potentially discussed with your lawyer) while drafting your parenting plan:

  1. Holidays: Okay, on first blush this might seem obvious – many holidays appear on the  standard parenting plan form itself, but we don’t just mean the holidays already listed on the pattern form. The pattern form parenting plan misses holidays celebrated by many of our clients (ex. Easter, Halloween, Hanukah, Chinese New Year, Ramadan, etc.). If these, or other holidays, are important to you or your children, they should be addressed in your parenting plan.
  2. Special Occasions: Along the same line as number one, the pattern form parenting plan misses several oft-celebrated special occasions. It covers Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but what about your birthday and/or your child’s birthday?