1. Think about where you want your child to live
Question & AnswerWho will my child live with?
Think about where you want your child to live each day during the week and during holiday times, and what will work best for your family. This includes who your child spends time with during their school breaks, long weekends, and religious holidays.
A parenting plan checklist can help you with the things you may have to think about. Not everything on the checklist may apply to your situation.
Some of the things you have to decide on are:
- how holidays and special occasions like birthdays are shared
- how to discuss things to avoid conflicts
- how often your child communicates with each of you, whether by telephone, email, skype, or text
- who’s responsible for picking up and dropping off your child between each of your homes
- the place where your child is picked up or dropped off, such as each of your homes, your child’s school or daycare, a relative’s home, or a public place
- how changes to the schedule are made
- how to deal with changes in the future
These decisions depend on many factors including:
- how old your child is
- where your child goes to school or daycare
- what your physical living space is like
- how close you and your partner live to each other
- your work hours
- who can care for your child when you are at work
- whether anyone else lives with you
- whether your child has any special needs
Also think about how important it is for your child to have a meaningful relationship with each of you. Even if you’re angry with your partner after you separated, it’s important to keep your child out of the conflict. Focus on what is best for your child and what they need from you.
If your child is older and emotionally mature, you and your partner can ask them what they want. Sometimes children do not want to be part of these decisions. But if they do and you think they are able to give their views and wishes freely, then you can discuss their choices with them.
As children get older, they often want to spend more time with their friends. It makes things easier for your child if you can be flexible and work with their plans.