If you and your spouse have decided to separate, now is the time to think about child custody. While you won’t need to have an official agreement in place until your divorce is finalized, this is the perfect opportunity to work out a custody schedule that works.
You and your spouse may be separated for only a short time before moving forward with your divorce, or you could be separated for many months until you work through conflicts. Between now and then, you’ll still need to have a plan for your child’s care.
Why is developing your custody plan easier during a separation?
Working out custody arrangements during your separation is great for a few reasons.
- You get to work through different schedules. Since there is not a permanent custody arrangement in place, you may have more flexibility to see what actually works for you, your ex-spouse and your child. A temporary custody schedule may be very basic, so you’ll quickly see what does or doesn’t work for you.
- You’ll have time to get settled and to help your child adjust. In the early days of a separation, it can be hard to see what your schedule will really be like or if your child will be comfortable once everything settles down. At the same time, you have longer to see how your child responds to different situations and to decide if frequent custody changes are right for them. You may find that a very simple arrangement, like switching custody once a week, is perfect. You may also find that alternating each day is great for your child based on where you and your ex live.
- You can see how you work with your ex to support your child. During your separation, the wounds of asking for divorce may still feel raw. Seeing how you and your ex work together now should give you an idea of what kind of custody arrangements you’d like in the future.
This separation may be a trial, or you may be intent on going through with your divorce. In either situation, it’s a good time to try different custody arrangements that could work for your child.