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How a parenting schedule can work for everyone

As part of the divorce process, Pennsylvania parents will need to create a schedule for child custody and visitation. This parenting schedule should be created with the child's needs prioritized over the parents'.

For example, individuals should put themselves in their children's place and think about what would be particularly difficult for them. They will also need to keep in mind various factors, such as the child's extracurricular activities, distance from the other parent's house, how the child will get to school and whether the child has special needs. Parents should try to maintain consistency where they can, such as keeping the same babysitter. Older children may want to have input into the creation of the schedule.

Parents should keep in mind that the schedule is not an opportunity to score a "win" against the other person or get revenge on their exes in some way. People should be aware that the schedule might inconvenience them at times since the focus is on the children's best interests. Some individuals may consider themselves more skilled at some aspects of parenting than their exes are, but it is important to not assume they cannot learn those skills. Finally, parents should avoid committing to a plan that makes assumptions about what may happen later, such as one parent moving.

Neither the parenting schedule nor the child support agreement are set in stone, and people may be able to change either one in the event of changed circumstances. Temporary deviations from the custody schedule may be handled by the parents, but if they want to make a permanent change, it may be best to create another legally binding agreement. The advantage of this is that it can protect a parent and child if the other person does not stick to the terms of the agreement.

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