The Basics of Shared Parenting

What is shared parenting?

Shared parenting is a method of parenting that allows both parents the chance to actively parent their child.

More and more parents are moving away from the "traditional" custody agreements that consist of a custodial and a noncustodial parent.

Every other weekend parents and "Disneyland Dads" are becoming less common as more parents are realizing that parenting is not only a right, it is a responsibility, and it is important for children to have both parents as active participants in their lives.

In a shared or joint custody agreement, both parents have physical custody (parenting time) with their child and both spend ample amounts of time with them.

When parents share custody, each parent will usually have the child at least 30% of the time and some parents opt to split the child's time as evenly as possible.

Both parents are also responsible for making the important decisions in the child's life.

Is shared parenting the right option for us?

Shared custody is a valiant attempt by both parents to be involved in their child's life for the benefit of the child.

Too often, parents remain together in a failing relationship in an effort to stick together "for the kids" because:

  • They don't want their child to have to be shuttled back and forth between homes.
  • They don't want their child to have to go long periods of time without seeing a parent.
  • They don't want their child to feel the emotional toll of a divorce.
  • They both want to be present in their child's life

However, when relationships fail, staying together "for the kids" isn't very healthy for anyone involved and there comes a point where separation is inevitable.

Parents with shared custody agreements are able to acknowledge that they are both important to their child and they are willing to set aside personal grievances in order to provide the best possible up-bringing for their child.

If you are willing to work with the other parent to give your child the best custody arrangement possible, shared parenting may work for you.

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What are some of the benefits of shared parenting?

Studies have shown that shared parenting arrangements are very beneficial to children.

When comparing children that are primarily raised by one parent versus children that are raised in the shared parenting style, statics show that the children in shared parenting environments:

  • Are less likely to try to pit parents against each other
  • Are better behaved because they know the lines of communication between parents are open
  • Are more successful both academically and socially
  • Are less likely to suffer from depression and are generally happier
  • Are less likely to need treatment for emotional and behavioral problems
  • Are better adjusted and less likely to suffer from post-separation anxiety and confusion
  • Have less negative feelings and experiences during the aftermath of the divorce
  • Have more positive attitudes about the impact of the divorce on their lives
  • Are more satisfied with their living arrangements
  • Have higher feelings of self-worth

These are just some of the benefits of shared parenting. The bottom line is that children that are actively raised by both a mother and a father are typically happier than children in sole custody situations.

How can I make shared parenting work for us?

When couples decide to separate or divorce, it is important to remember that your relationship is not ending, it is changing.

Though your romantic relationship has ended, you are still your child's parents and will share that bond for the rest of your lives. The way you treat each other will have a direct impact on your child.

Putting your differences aside for the sake of your child may be difficult at first, but it will become easier over time. In fact, parents who are able to treat each other with civility and mutual respect generally become friendlier with each other over the years.

Even the most amiable of parents will have disagreements which is why a good parenting plan is a vital part of any shared custody agreement.

How can I make a successful parenting plan?

The key to creating a successful parenting plan is to be as detailed and as thorough as possible.

Your parenting plan will establish the rules for raising your child apart. If you create a document that encompasses the anticipated needs of your child you may avoid many disputes in the future.

A comprehensive parenting plan should include:

  • A basic custody schedule
  • A schedule for holidays and special occasions
  • Provisions for vacation time
  • A statement describing parental authority and decision-making
  • A method of dispute resolution
  • A method for modifying the plan
  • Any rules, stipulations, or provisions that you would like to include

However, even the most brilliant parenting plans will fail if the other parent doesn't agree to it.

It is very important to make every effort to create a plan both of you can agree on. This may require a bit of compromise and a lot of patience.

How can Custody X Change help with my shared custody agreement?

Creating a detailed parenting plan doesn't have to be difficult or a painstaking process if you have the right tools.

Custody X Change is a child custody software program that allows you to create your child custody agreement / parenting plan.

You can easily create a shared parenting plan with this software because you simply enter the requested information.

As you navigate through the software, you will be prompted to enter the days and times that the child spend with each parent, divide the holidays, and create any special events where the schedule will change.

The result is a printable custody calendar and schedule. You can even print off several years of the calendar in advance.

The software also calculates the time-share percentage so that each of you will know exactly how much time you will have to spend with your child.

Along with creating a schedule and a calendar, you can print off the actual agreement to present to the court, mediation, your lawyer, and your ex.

In addition to the agreement and the schedule you and the child's other parent can add in stipulations to accompany the agreement. You can choose from the ones provided in the program and / or make your own.

(An example of a stipulation could be that you don't want one parent getting the child a passport without notifying the other parent).

The software makes it easy for you to sit down and create the perfect, personal schedule for you and your child.

Because shared custody heavily involves both parents (unlike sole custody arrangements where one parent has the child the majority of the time with occasional visits to the other parent) there are certain issues that can arise in a joint custody agreement.

With Custody X Change, you can sit down and create a professional looking parenting plan for your shared custody arrangements. You will be able to print off copies for your ex, a mediator, and / or the court. You can even print out a copy of the calendar for your child so he or she will always know what to expect.

Try Custody X Change today and see how it can help you.

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