When parents in Ohio get a divorce, they will need to work out a parenting schedule. There are several things they can do and avoid to make this schedule work for them and their children.
The parenting schedule must be child-focused. This means that parents should think about how they would feel if they were in their children’s place. However, parents also need to look at logistics including their own work schedules and keeping the same child care provider. Parents need to keep children’s extracurricular schedules in mind. They may want to involve older children in the creation of the schedule. Parents who are concerned about how this might play out should remember that asking for the children’s input does not necessarily mean they must follow their wishes. There may need to be extra consideration for children with special needs.
Parents should avoid focusing on what is convenient for them and remember that what is best for the children may sometimes be inconvenient for them. They must also avoid using the parenting schedule to try to get back at the other parent. They need to keep in mind that they and the other parent may have different strengths and thus be flexible without keeping score. Litigation may be necessary if parents cannot agree on a schedule.
Before turning to litigation, parents may want to try alternative dispute resolution methods such as divorce mediation. These methods may be able to produce a compromise even in contentious divorces. Unlike litigation, in which there is an adversarial atmosphere, mediation focuses on reaching a solution that suits all parties. Working through issues using mediation may better prepare parents for an effective co-parenting relationship as well. Parents might want to create a parenting agreement that makes rules consistent between their households and addresses any other areas of concern.