This is required in all cases involving time-sharing with minor children. It is filed with the court. It should describe how the parties will share and be responsible for daily situations with the children as well as the time-sharing schedule arrangements.
Who will be responsible for health care, school-related matters or other activities should be specified as well as how the parents will communicate with the children and how they will communicate with each other.
TIMESHARING GUIDELINES FOR PARENTS
The behavior of parents during the dissolution process has a great influence on the emotional adjustment of their children. The following guidelines might be helpful in achieving meaningful timesharing:
- Remember to put your children’s welfare first. See that their emotional needs are met and that they have an opportunity to develop as “normally” as possible, to maintain and build positive, steady and strong relationships.
- Interaction with the both parents is needed and helpful to your children’s development and future welfare. Encourage your children to maintain a positive relationship with both parents.
- Children should be allowed to visit the non-custodian’s home or enjoy an outing.
- Use caution when introducing another person during the visitation; they might be seen as a rival, both to the children and the other parent. Exercise sound discretion and judgment in each situation; always maintain the best interest of the children as the primary consideration!
- Keep your timesharing schedule and inform the other parent in advance when you cannot keep an appointment. Failure to keep a visit may be construed as rejection by the children.
- Be flexible – it may be necessary to adjust the timesharing schedule due to unforeseen circumstances by all parties.
- Your children need you! Regardless of the situation do not desert your children, make the visits meaningful to them. Children still need both parents if they are to grow up with a balanced outlook.
- Plan activities that the children will enjoy to provide enhanced pleasure to the visit.
- No espionage! Do not use the children as spies, which could force them to make a choice of loyalty. Parents should show mutual respect for each other in front of the children despite their personal feelings.
- If problems occur during, or because of, a visit both parents should make every effort to discuss them and to agree on ways to deal with them.
- Both parents should strive for agreement in decisions pertaining to the children, especially discipline; one parent should not undermine the other’s efforts.
- Parties should use common sense in the granting and exercising of timesharing. Remember – do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
- Your children’s future attitudes, outlooks and emotional developments are important. The children should know, and have, the love and proper guidance of both parents.
These guidelines will not answer every problem that arises, nor will they solve all questions raised; however, they are useful and worthy parameters.