What is parenting time and who gets it?

2. Talk to your partner

You and your partner can try to agree on without going to court. Parenting time used to be called . You can talk to your partner on your own, with the help of someone both of you trust, or with the help of a lawyer or mediator.

If there are no issues of violence or abuse and your partner is capable of caring for your child, you should come up with a parenting time schedule that gives your child meaningful contact with both of you.

Even if you’re angry with your partner after separating from them, it’s important to keep your child out of the conflict. Focus on what’s best for your child and what they need from you.

A parenting plan checklist can help you with the things you may have to think about. Not everything on the checklist may apply to your situation.

Some of the things you have to decide on are:

  • how holidays and special occasions like birthdays are shared
  • how to discuss things to avoid conflicts
  • how often your child communicates with each of you, whether by telephone, email, skype, or text
  • who’s responsible for picking up and dropping off your child between each of your homes
  • the place where your child is picked up or dropped off, such as each of your homes, your child’s school or daycare, a relative’s home, or a public place
  • how changes to the parenting time schedule are made
  • how to deal with changes in the future

These decisions depend on many factors including:

  • how old your child is
  • where your child goes to school or daycare
  • what your physical living space is like
  • how close you and your partner live to each other
  • your work hours
  • who can care for your child when you are at work
  • whether anyone else lives with you
  • whether your child has any special needs

If your child is older and emotionally mature, you and your partner can ask them what they want. Sometimes children do not want to be part of these decisions. But if they do and you think they are able to give their views and wishes freely, then you can discuss their choices with them.

As children get older, they often want to spend more time with their friends. It makes things easier for your child if you can be flexible and work with their plans.

If you agree on issues related to your children, you can make a . A parenting plan can be an informal arrangement between the two of you, or it can be part of your .

Your parenting plan or separation agreement has to follow certain rules to make it binding and enforceable under the law. This means your agreement is made in a way that allows the court to order you or your partner to do what the agreement says, if either of you stop following it.

Talking to your partner may not be an option where there is a history of partner abuse.

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