Child custody cases are almost always emotional, and it can be difficult to work together with your co-parent to decide the parenting plan, which will detail how your children spend their time with each parent. While the exact factors at play in your case will naturally impact your plan’s details, it is worth knowing that children tend to benefit the most when their divorced or separated parents share time as equally as possible. In fact, there are a lot of benefits to consider when it comes to dividing parenting time in an equal manner.
Both Parents Can Build Their Careers
The financial price tag associated with keeping up two homes and raising children is the top stressor for many parents after a split. When both parents evenly share the logistics and time needed for caring for their children, they also tend to have equal time away from the kids. These hours can be used to start businesses and side jobs, build careers, invest in training and education, and/or on work travel.
More Equality in Parenting
In the past, parenting plans defaulted to give mothers more time with the kids. While this is still somewhat the norm, more family law courts and professionals are now encouraging a more equal division in parenting time schedules.
When both parents have relatively equal time with the kids, the parent roles are far more likely to be equalized in the parents’ respective homes. Before the split, one parent may have been the one enforcing the rules while the other parent provided emotional comfort. Now, each parent will have to fill both parenting roles while they have the kids. This can help foster stronger parent-children bonds between the child and each parent.
More Even Financial Support
While it’s true that parents who have equal parenting time also have the same amount of time to work and earn, child support payments are still needed in many family situations. However, child support in the US isn’t at the highest compliance levels. According to the US Census Bureau, only around 44 percent of parents who were receiving child support got the full amount (https://www.census.gov/newsro
With that in mind, many studies have found that parents who spend more time with their children are more likely to support them financially. The Journalist’s Resource, for example, reported that fathers who fell behind on child support saw their children less often, on average, when compared to fathers who were current on support (https://journalistsresource.o
More Time to Enjoy Life
Parents with equal parenting time are usually in a better position to engage in things outside of parenting and working, such as hobbies, rest, exercise, and other relationships. Parents who have the majority of the parenting time often struggle to find free time to do things that are necessary for a healthy life balance.
While you may not yet be sure how your parenting plan should go, keep in mind that equal parenting time is an option worth considering. It may be impossible to split parenting time 50/50 because of things such as work and school, but you can work with your co-parent to create a plan that allows both of you to have as much time with the children as possible. Speak to your family law attorney about all the options as you work on your plan because they may be able to point out areas you need to address but haven’t even thought of yet.