It really depends on each specific child and their parents. There are good guidelines for parents to follow, though, such as making sure there is a consistent routine. Having a tolerant attitude when changes are necessary, keeping open lines of communication about issues concerning the child. Coming up with a plan for conflict resolution, being supportive of each other’s relationship with the child, and nurturing the child’s growth as a productive and healthy individual in all areas of life.
The Family Law Act explains that a parent should have a part in the child’s daily life, participate in events and activities with them, and spend time with them on weekdays, on weekends, and during holidays. Younger children should see both parents often, and should participate in other activities and friendships, but not be away from either parent too long. In adolescence, longer periods away from parents are acceptable.
Jane and Bradley have an arrangement that is very common in separated parenting situations. Their son and daughter live primarily with Jane, but every other weekend, they stay with Bradley. Bradley also spends time with the children during the week when possible, taking them to athletic practices or dinners. It is becoming more and more common for parents to try to equalize the time as much as possible, as Jane and Bradley are doing. Some work out arrangements where the child or children will spend five nights with one parent, then spend nine nights with the other.
Whether or not one parent spends time with the children while they are staying with the other parent often depends on work schedules, the children’s schedules, how close the parents live to each other, and personal preferences. Some parents have arrangements where one parent always has the child during the week, and the other parent has them every weekend, but this is less common and not always desirable, as it restricts the involvement of each parent to only certain activities.
When parents either wish to share equal time with the children or are arguing against shared time, the court will consider several factors, such as how close the parents live to each other, what each parent’s work, relationship, and lifestyle needs are, what the plan is for properly managing the child’s life between two households, and how well the parents can communicate with each other about the child’s life. The court also needs to believe that shared time is in the best interest of the child in order to make such an order.