Just after your divorce, your initial custody, visitation and parenting plan for your child seemed to be ideal — and it worked for a while.
Every parent knows that the needs of their children can change quite rapidly as they age, however. If your current parenting plan isn’t working, it could simply be time for a modification that will better meet the needs of your child’s current developmental stage.
How a child’s age relates to custody and visitation plans
The kind of custody and visitation plan that’s best for your family really does depend on your child’s developmental stage.
Preschoolers, for example, thrive best on predictable routines and get very attached to their regular caregivers. They can struggle to move between homes and have anxiety about switches for visitation.
At that age, the focus often needs to be on stability. Parents need to be watchful that a child isn’t coping with the custody switches. They may need to gradually expand short visits with the noncustodial parent into longer ones and make liberal use of telephone calls and video messaging with their regular caregiver when they are with their other parent. Parenting styles should be in-sync as much as possible.
By the time your child has reached school age, they’re probably able to handle longer separations. They also have a better understanding of schedules and time, so that can reduce their separation anxiety when they’re away from one parent. They may also have adapted to the idea of having two homes, be better able to express their feelings and can even adjust better to different parenting styles.
These are just two examples of the ways that age can factor into your custody plans.
Take steps to do what’s best for your child today
If you think it may be time to obtain a modification of your custody and parenting plan, you can approach your co-parent about the idea. Working together is advisable. However, you should also reach out to an experienced advocate about the issue right away.