Equal Parenting Time and When It’s Appropriate

Any custody case, whether that’s in a divorce or a dispute between a couple that was never married, is governed by what is best for the child. As a parent, you certainly have your own ideas about what sort of parenting schedule is best for your child, and your spouse or partner probably has his or her own opinions. Maximizing a child’s time with each parent is a great goal, and a parenting schedule that allows a child to be with both parents an equal amount of time seems like the perfect solution.

In fact, there have been some pushes in Washington to make an equal parenting schedule the “default”, although those laws have not been passed. Before you decide on this type of schedule, though, there are some special considerations you should think about.

First, what kind of history do you have with the other parent?  Do the two of you argue a lot, or are you usually on the same page?  Equal parenting time means that you and the other parent should be really good at cooperating and working as a team. If your child is school age, for example, you and the other parent need to communicate about school work and projects as well as extracurricular schedules. If you and the other parent have difficulty in agreeing or communicating without fighting, then an equal parenting schedule may not be the easiest option.

Another consideration is where you and the other parent live. If you live close to the other parent, an equal schedule is a lot easier. Living close together usually means that school, friends, and any activities are about the same distance away from your house and the other parent’s house. If one of you lives far away, driving to school or other events on a regular basis can be hard on the children. It can end up meaning a lot of time in the car, and not a lot of quality time with the parent.

You also need to seriously think about your child and his or her personality. Does your child adapt well to change?  If not, it may be a better idea for the child to spend more of the time at one of the parent’s houses.

If you are considering different parenting schedules, contact us today at (253) 272-9459 for an appointment. We can talk with you about your child and your options and help you decide what is best for you and your family.


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