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How Should Your Parenting Plan Evolve?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Dec. 23, 2019

Just as your parenting style must grow and adapt with your children, your parenting plan may require some fine-tuning each year as well. Some of those changes may be minor tweaks, while others could require a more thorough modification of your parenting plan or even a post-divorce modification of your financial arrangements.

Take a look at some of the most common parenting plans at different stages in your divorce and co-parenting journey.

Immediately After the Divorce

While Missouri has a relatively short waiting period for divorce, letting couples finalize a divorce just 30 days after filing, there will still be a few months of transition while you, your former spouse and your children settle into the new normal.

For families with young children, a parenting method called “bird nesting” is popular for couples who generally agree on parenting matters but divorced for other reasons. In this arrangement, the children remain in the family home while each parent rotates in and out to take turns for their parenting time. This temporary arrangement allows the children to get used to spending time with you and your former spouse one on one in a familiar environment

School-Age Children

For kids in early elementary school, the 3-4-4-3 plan often works well to ensure that the children receive fairly equal time with each parent. For other families, an every-other-weekend schedule may be more appropriate, especially if you or your spouse have a career that would make childcare during the week difficult.

At this stage of co-parenting, one of the biggest concerns is finding ways to give each parent short, frequent bursts of parenting time.

Older Children

As your children grow into high school and beyond, educational concerns become more important in determining living arrangements. In many parenting plans with older children, you and your spouse may break up parenting time into months-long chunks that align with the school breaks.

Your parenting plan can change with you and your children to make sure it still meets your needs.