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Consider a child's age when creating a parenting plan

Part of looking out for a child's best interests when co-parenting involves creating an effective parenting plan. Michigan co-parents may be interested in learning about some basic guidelines on how to divide time between parents based on a child's age.

Babies and toddlers can easily be put in a state of distress when changes to their schedule occur. They need consistency, which means that it is usually best for children at this age to have one primary caretaker who they are with almost all of the time. However, it would be recommendable for the other parent to visit a couple of times a week and spend several hours with the child.

As children get a little bit older, they can more easily adjust to changes in their schedule. When children start school, this adds some structure to their lives outside of the time they spend with parents. It is at this point that overnight visits and full days with the non-primary caretaker should begin. It is important that children at this age have stability and enjoy frequent contact with both of their parents. They are still developing a bond with their parents at this age.

It can be difficult to accommodate older children and teenagers because they have less predictable schedules. They are starting to have their own social lives, which need to be taken into consideration when planning time with parents.

Some co-parents have been able to draw up an effective parenting plan on their own. Others need mediation or the help of the courts to determine custody and visitation. A person who has questions about child custody modification, visitation rights or a custody dispute could talk to an attorney. The attorney might provide information about what options a person has as far as getting legal custody of their children.

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