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Think of the parenting schedule as a blueprint

Parents often worry about schedules when getting divorced. They don't know what the future holds and they don't want to be locked into the schedule forever.

If they commit to picking up a first grader from school every Friday, do they have to pick him or her up all the way to college? Does agreeing to have dinner with the kids on Wednesday mean weekly dinners, with no breaks for holidays or vacations, for the next decade and a half?

To some degree, it does. You must realize that your parenting plan encompasses the entire time your children are minors. Yes, that can be a long time, but that's what you chose when you decided to have kids.

However, experts agree that the parenting plan doesn't have to be carved in stone. Think of it more as a rough guideline or a blueprint, something that works right now but can be altered. It gives you a loose structure so that you and your ex work together to give the kids the best life possible, but you both can work around that structure.

With this mindset, it feels a lot less daunting. You can talk to your ex about vacation plans. You can get involved in new activities with your peers and change the parenting plan to match your schedule. No, you shouldn't do this alone and some changes have to be approved by the court if they'd violate the custody agreement, but it is possible.

It's important for both parents to have this outlook and to be flexible with one another. Divorce doesn't have to be a struggle when you both put the kids first and give each other some freedom.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to Make a Parenting Schedule that Works," Karen Covy, accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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