Many jurisdictions assume that an equal split of the child’s time between the parents’ care serves the best interests of the children. Although some form of a fifty-fifty split may make sense, this assumption generally suits the needs of the contentious parents first and foremost.
IT’S NOT YOUR TIME; IT’S THE CHILD’S TIME IN YOUR CARE
If and how a child’s care should be split between his parents’ homes can be an explosive subject. Family law attorneys and judges, guardians, and specially trained custody evaluators can usually be helpful. At issue is not the parents’ wishes or even the child’s wishes, but the child’s needs and how each parent’s social, emotional, intellectual, and material resources can meet those needs.
Perhaps most critical when discussing the future allocation of parenting rights and responsibilities, however, are the structures established to keep the kids out of the middle of the adult conflict. For example:
1. Never make the child into a messenger, courier, or spy between homes.
2. Don’t ask the child to keep secrets with one parent from the other.
3. Don’t ask the child to choose between parents.
4. Find a balance between the number of transitions between homes the child must endure each week on one hand versus how long she has to be away from each parent on the other.
These four tips are great fundamentals of successful coParenting. If you do your best to utilize them, you’ll be off to a great start when sharing custody.