There is no "one size fits all" custody arrangement. The family law trend over the years has been to create custody arrangements like, 2-2-3 or 2-2-5, that allows equal parenting time. The problem is that trying to fit the busy, complex lives of families into pre-created custody paradigms doesn't work and ends up creating more problems and reasons for going back to court on contempt motions. I see the new trend in custody to be a mindful approach where the parents collectively and peacefully create a flexible parenting plan that fits the needs and schedules of the family. These plans, if there is an actual plan at all, contemplate both parents’ and the children’s schedules and responsibilities.
My approach as counselor at law is to educated parents in understanding that sole custody, joint custody, shared custody and split custody are merely labels and that the quantity of time with their children is far less important than the quality of time spent with them. Once parents get beyond these preconceived notions, they are in a much better position to create a flexible parenting plan that works for their family. Just as the traditional approach of battling in court over divorce issues has proven to be detrimental to families, so has the traditional custody arrangements. Be peaceful and talk. If you can't then find a mediator who can help you talk.
(Parts of this post will be published in the Chicago Tribune in February)
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