Parents in Tennessee who are planning a parenting schedule should prioritize their children’s needs in creating it. The schedule is supposed to support the child’s relationship with both parents, and parents should resist the urge to feel that its design means they have won or lost.
Instead, parents should put themselves in their child’s shoes and think about what the child will gain and lose in their new life after divorce. They should make sure to consider the logistics of transportation and child care. If the child can stay with the same babysitter or child care provider, this can provide a sense of stability. Children may have after-school activities that must be considered as well. If children are older, they might want to participate in a conversation about the schedule. Parents should also account for any special needs their child has.
If one parent has been the main caregiver, that parent may struggle with the idea that the other parent is not qualified to take on those tasks. Parents may need to let go of this concern and accept that different parenting styles will not hurt the child. However, if they cannot agree on a schedule, they might have to go to court where a judge will make a schedule.
Many parents prefer to try to negotiate an agreement because it can be less costly and stressful. It may also be less difficult to transition to a coparenting relationship from negotiation than from a custody battle. However, parents might be able to resolve their conflict through mediation. Mediation focuses on finding a solution that both parents are happy with. Even if it is necessary to go to court, parents can still move on to coparent successfully. An attorney may be able to assist a parent in any of these approaches.