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How should you create a parenting plan that will work?

If you have children, one of the most important parts of that divorce will be the custody arrangement you agree to with your children's other parent. The document will cover the important topics of physical and legal custody and a great many details of your relationship between you and your children and your former spouse.

Recently there is much discussion regarding ensuring that fathers have an equal role in raising their children. Much research has found that children do best when they have a stable home life and have involvement from both of their parents.

This has led to much emphasis on fathers obtaining joint physical custody with the time between parents divided as evenly as possible. Of course, this is a fine idea, but if you are a father who wants such an arrangement you will likely need to have a very well thought out parenting plan to cope with the complexity inherent in such an arrangement.

For example, if you have two school age children, and you want to adopt a schedule where the children alternate every couple of days between your households, consider what that will necessitate. Most important, it means you will have to be present, in your home to help with your children's needs, from assisting with homework to making lunches or helping them get ready in the morning for school.

If you have a job that demands you work late evenings or travel regularly and often with little notice, such a schedule could quickly turn into a train wreck, causing conflict with your children's other parent and greatly increase the stress your children experience.

Also, consider your driving distance between residences. If you both still live within the same school district and better, within easy distance of the children's school, your life and theirs will be much easier. While driving longer distances may seem not to be an issue in September, what will it be like in February after a multi-inch snowstorm?

Like most things, a successful parenting plan may look effortless (okay, nothing about a divorce is effortless), but that is only because of the careful planning and willingness to cooperate on many aspects of that plan.

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Divorce: a Practical Guide

Divorce: A Practical Guide

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