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The ideal parenting plan may change as kids grow up

You and your spouse are divorcing and you have a 2-year-old child. Quite frankly, you're angry about the divorce, but you don't let that impact the decisions you make. You still work hard to create a parenting plan and a custody schedule that both focus on your child's best interests.

One thing to remember is that you and your ex may need to be flexible over time. If you really have your child's best interests in mind, those could change as he or she grows up.

Often, experts point out that it can be helpful for a child to spend more time with the parent of the same gender during transitional points in life. The change from childhood to the teenage years is a prime example. As children go through puberty and the physical and emotional challenges that come with it, sons may be more interested in spending time with their fathers and daughters may be more interested in seeing their mothers.

This doesn't mean no other arrangement will work, but it's simply important to keep an open mind. Don't be hurt or angry if your growing child, who lives with you all but every other weekend, starts talking about wanting to spend longer stretches with the other parent. Focus on the child's best interests and be open to making changes to the schedule when necessary.

At the same time, be sure you really understand your rights. There may be important legal steps you need to take to make these changes official so that they don't violate your parental rights or your ex's parental rights.

Source: Divorce and Children, "“Oh no, you didn’t!” What to do when kids tell you they want to live with the other parent," Christina McGhee, accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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