Whether you are going through a divorce or separating, one of the biggest challenges is coming up with a parenting plan. Here are some important things to think about as you go through this process:

1. The Child’s Needs Come First

When it comes to family law matters involving children, Colorado statutes are clear: All decisions should be based on the best interests of the child. It is important to carefully consider the child’s age, educational, spiritual and social needs when creating a parenting plan.

2. What Is Your Current Relationship With Your Child?

Who takes the child to school? Who helps the child practice for sports or other extracurricular activities? Who helps the child with homework? When appropriate and to the extent possible, parenting plans should allow for continuation of existing parent-child relationships. Dramatic changes may not be in the child’s best interests.

3. What Is Each Parent’s Living Situation?

Is one parent staying in the family home? Perhaps it makes sense for that to be the child’s primary residence. Is one parent moving to another city or state? Travel arrangements, Skype sessions, phone calls and more may need to be integrated into the parenting plan.

4. It Is Important To Be Realistic

In most cases, it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. Except when there are extenuating circumstances, it is unrealistic for one parent to expect not to share parenting time. Furthermore, each parent should be realistic in looking at their work schedule and other factors when thinking about parenting time.

5. Parenting Plans Are Not One-Size-Fits-All

While a 5-2-2-5 (day) or 4-3-3-4 (day) split in child custody is typical, there are many other possibilities. You are free to get creative in order to develop the parenting plan that meets your child’s needs and makes the most sense for your situation.

6. Parenting Plans Are Not Set In Stone

While parenting plans are meant to be lasting, the law does take into account the fact that circumstances change. In the event of a major change in circumstances, modifications may be possible. Do not feel that you are completely locked in to your parenting plan.

7. You Do Not Have To Figure This Out On Your Own

These matters can be complex and emotional. You do not have to figure out a parenting plan on your own. An experienced attorney can help you ensure that nothing is overlooked, that all options are considered and that your parenting plan fits your child’s best interests and your circumstances. At Scardina Family Law, we provide caring and personalized guidance in the creation of parenting plans.