July 12, 2013

Determining Parenting Time and Child Custody


Robert Emery, Ph.D., a well known author about families and divorce, wrote that joint physical custody can be the best arrangement and the worst arrangement for children in an article for Psychology Today.

As a Collaborative Child Specialist, I assist parents with making decisions about Parenting Time. When the discussion begins, parents often use the term, custody.  I steer parents away from this label because it does not help to inform them about how to create the best parenting time arrangement for their children. The goal is to have a Parenting Time Schedule that addresses the developmental needs of the child, and maintains a strong emotional bond between the parent and the child.

So, what goes into deciding a good quality Parenting Time Schedule?

When I sit down with parents to work on helping them create the best arrangement for their children and family, I first want to hear from parents about the characteristics and developmental needs of their child.  I ask parents to talk together about the age and developmental stage of the child since the emotional and psychological needs of infant and toddlers will be different from the needs of school age children, and adolescents deserve special consideration also.

The next task for parents is to consider the unique traits of their child, which is referred to as the child’s temperament. Some of the discussion questions are, how does their child deal with change and stress, how persistent the child is when tasks become difficult, and the child’s ability to maintain focus when there are distractions.

Also, parents who have children with special needs such as Attention Deficit Disorder, a mood disorder such as anxiety, or other social or emotional challenges will again, want to create a parenting time arrangement that supports the child in functioning at his or her best with the least amount of stress.

Parents can further serve the best interests of their children when they understand that the Parenting Time Schedule is not a one time endeavor, but an evolving process that may undergo changes through time, since the developmental and emotional needs of children change over time.

Determining a good quality Parenting Time Schedule is an opportunity for parents to put together their collective wisdom and knowledge of their children and create a plan that is supportive of the needs of the children and parent child relationship, and the family as a whole.

Stephanie TschidaABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Tschida

Stephanie Tschida, M.S., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Collaborative Divorce Neutral Child Specialist and Divorce Coach is in private practice in Woodbury Minnesota. She is committed to supporting her clients through the uncertainty of family change, so that they can experience a smooth transition, have a positive adjustment and strong family plan to carry them forward. Learn more about Stephanie's therapy practice and collaborative divorce work at: Learn more at www.sltschida.com

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One Response to Determining Parenting Time and Child Custody

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Divorce Myths and Their Impact | Collaborative Law Institute of MN

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