The following alternative child custody plans and parenting time schedules for separated or divorced parents are from the latest studies and review of developmental research by family, child custody and divorce mediator, clinician, educator and author Robert Emery, Ph.D. Exclusively on our site on the web, these are graciously shared with Dr. Emery’s permission.
Dr. Emery is a nationally recognized expert on children, divorce and child custody. A professor of psychology and director of The Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia, Dr. Emery has authored more than a hundred scientific publications and several books, including his latest on children, divorce and child custody issues: The Truth About Children and Divorce: Dealing With the Emotions So You and Your Children Can Thrive.
Dr. Emery’s unique approach focuses on his conviction that parents’ “divorce style” (a couple’s style of relating with each other after their separation) critically influences the success of different child custody and parenting plans. Accordingly, for each age grouping of children, he suggests different child custody parenting plans and timesharing schedules for each of three divorce styles:
Like Dr. Joan Kelly with her Child Custody Parenting Plan Options (for Children of School Age), Dr. Emery also is emphatic that his alternative timesharing schedules are child custody and parenting plan options to help you consider and develop an appropriate timesharing and parenting plan for your family. As he writes:
“You are the leading expert on your children, and you should be the one to craft a plan that you think will work best for them.”
With that caution and encouragement, here are some developmentally appropriate child custody parenting plan or timesharing schedule alternatives to consider from Dr. Emery. These are suggested for the following age groups:
For more details with respect to these alternative child custody schedules for all ages of children, and a user-friendly guide to designing workable child custody and parenting time plans, Dr. Emery’s insightful divorce book, The Truth About Children and Divorce, is highly recommended.
“Child custody” and “child custody plans,” “custody,” “custodian” and “visitation” — all are words which create confusion and distort the real issues of how parents should best share time with (and even make decisions regarding) their children. As most Colorado mediators and divorce professionals, we don’t use them, and the more progressive and enlightened Colorado child custody and divorce laws have abandoned them as well in favor of phrases such as timesharing schedules, parenting time plans and allocation of decision-making and parental responsibilities.
Only because we are so often asked about Colorado child custody information have we reluctantly included these popular phrases in this section of our website. (Please see our further discussion about the new Colorado law’s terminology at the Questions – Why Not Use “Child Custody” or “Visitation” Language in Discussing Colorado Child Custody Plans or Issues? section of our website.)
Given the ongoing nature of their relationship, many parents find family mediation especially well-suited as a positive process to help them communicate effectively and to resolve efficiently divorce, child custody, timesharing, parenting plan and other parenting disputes.
Indeed, Dr. Emery’s recent scientific studies detailed in his book The Truth About Children and Divorce demonstrate the astonishing long-term benefits to children of families who take control of their own destiny, and attempt to work out their own agreements in child custody or divorce mediation! See our article about Dr. Emery’s research confirming divorce mediation’s persistent and positive effects on families.
For more information about mediation as a powerful alternative to adversarial Colorado child custody, divorce or parenting litigation, see our site’s Why Choose Divorce Mediation and (Colorado Divorce & Mediation) Questions & Myths sections. Here, we answer other questions, and debunk commonly held misunderstandings − regarding Colorado child custody and Colorado divorce laws, court procedures and alternative dispute resolution alternatives, such as family mediation.
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