During a divorce, a California couple may have to create a parenting schedule. This is the plan for when the child will spend time with each parent. If they cannot agree on a schedule, they may have to go to court and have a judge create one. The potential drawback is that a parent might end up with even less time with the child this way.

The parenting schedule is supposed to ensure that the children will keep strong relationships with both parents. That’s why one should resist the urge to use it as a tool to hurt the other parent or “keep score” about how much they are sacrificing. They should also accept that there is nothing wrong with having different parenting styles.

The schedule should be created for the child’s convenience. This means that parents should consider the child’s activities as well as the logistics of where they both live and where the child goes to school. One should try to consider the situation from their child’s point of view. Children who are older might want to participate in creating the schedule. However, parents should create a schedule that is based on the present situation and not what they hope will happen in the future. For example, one parent might hope to relocate closer in a few years, but this could change.

Once a schedule is created, the court usually prefers that the parents make an effort to resolve any minor custody issues. However, there are situations that might require a return to court for a child custody modification. For example, if one parent wishes to relocate, a judge may need to approve the move. Legal counsel could help a parent throughout the negotiation process.