Each family member can cope with divorce in unique ways. For this reason, any children involved may require additional time and support during the separation. On top of this challenge, parents often disagree over details of a child custody plan. What can California families going through divorce learn about determining parenting time, and how can they navigate disputes that might occur as a result? 

First, it may prove beneficial for everyone to hold a family meeting about future plans. Parents magazine refreshes those going through a divorce on certain strategies to use when explaining child custody and visitation to younger family members. Before this can happen, however, ex-spouses must agree on how they will discuss plans with children. Parents urges readers to avoid putting down ex-spouses, as this can present a conflicted message to young audiences. If it is impossible for ex-spouses to be in the same room together, Parents suggests discussing plans with children one-on-one. A child may not have to know a parenting time dispute at hand, but parents can ease the tension by explaining as much about future plans as possible.

The California Courts website lists the different parenting plans families can choose from, noting that such a procedure generally involves time-share and decision-making. Time-share refers to the schedule that determines when the child will be with each parent. Decision-making has to do with how the parents will make important decisions for children involving education, health and other important aspects. The Courts explains that, except in cases involving violence, parenting plans should allow both parents to do the following:

  • Have information about the children
  • Call the children
  • Look at any school and medical records
  • Access the other parent’s contact information   

The levels of attention needed in certain categories of childcare, such as after-school care and extracurricular activities, may depend on the child’s age. However, the Courts point out that — no matter a child’s age — it is vital that parents provide basic needs, as well as emotional support through all of the coping stages.