The Collaborative Divorce Center

Co-Parenting Post-Divorce: Nurturing Your Children

Sharing Children After Your Divorce

Sharing children is by far the most challenging aspect of a divorce.  Clients are so anxious about how the time sharing will work and have so many misconceptions, like, “The law says it should be 50/50!!”  Often clients want to know what time sharing schedule the court will decide upon for their children. No one can answer that question because no one, not even a very experienced family law lawyer, can tell you what a particular judge will do in any particular case.  The court has given us a glimpse, however, into what is taken into consideration in making the determination about time sharing.  Here is what the Seventh Judicial Circuit has to say:

These are general time sharing provisions, and use of these time sharing schedules should be based on each individual family’s circumstances.  Furthermore, the Court does not have a “one size fits all” time sharing schedule.  Rather the Court may adopt one of these attached schedules, based on the family’s needs.

 It should be the goal of each parent to encourage the continuation of all healthy relationships that existed between your children and others before the parties’ separation. Children who see their parents in conflict suffer both short and long-term effects.  Raised voices, arguing, hateful remarks, and physical altercations are not suitable for children’s viewing. Children are most likely to keep their feeling of family when they continue to have pleasant, free access to both parents and extended family.  Your children’s identities depend on their feeling that they belong to both families.  This requires that they spend time with both sides of the family.  If your children lose part of their family, their sense of identity can be distorted.  Appreciate the involvement of extended family in your children’s lives.

Encourage and support the other parent in accepting an active role in your children’s lives. Share responsibilities (laundry, transportation, doctor visits, teacher conferences, etc).  Respect the basic nature or temperament of your children as well as the temperamental match or fit between them and each parent. Consider the match of each parent’s interests and your children’s activities. Provide as much direct contact and positive involvement as possible between your children and each parent. When parents remain in the same geographical location, relationships are more likely to be maximized.

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