Tips to Making a Realistic Child Custody Plan

When parents decide to separate or divorce, there will need to be special provisions made for visitation and custody of the parties’ children.  In some cases, the parties will be unable to come to an agreement and they will have to go to court to have a judge make a determination on what is best for the child or children.  In the majority of cases, however, parents are able to come to an agreement on a child custody plan and will be able to submit that agreement for the judge’s approval.  A settlement with child custody lets the parents tailor-make a custody plan that should work for their family and their child.  There are some steps to follow to make sure your custody plan is realistic.

First, think about your child’s age.  What is realistic and best for an infant will clearly not be realistic and best for a teenager.  A very young child will not have a school schedule with compulsory attendance and so parents may be able to build a flexible custody schedule with that in mind.  However, to make a custody plan workable in the long-run, parents need to remember that the child will grow and need to go to school eventually.  Making a realistic custody plan requires taking into account a child’s age and the changing school and extracurricular needs of the child through the different stages.

Second, you need to think about your own schedule and that of your former spouse.  If you both have typical nine to five jobs, this will not be a big obstacle to making a realistic plan.  However, if one of you has shift work or has any other type of unpredictable schedule, your custody plan needs to build into it a way for you and your former spouse to deal with the changing availability. 

Third, think about your child’s personality.  Some children flourish with a schedule that provides each parent with equal residential time.  However, some children need more of a “home base” and do better with one household during the week and another on the weekend.  To have a lasting schedule that is realistically going to work for your particular child’s best interest, you need to think carefully about your child’s personality and whether he or she has the proper disposition for the type of schedule you are proposing.

If you are facing a custody battle, today at (732) 529-6937. We are experienced in assisting clients to craft realistic custody proposals for their particular case and family. Please also check out our for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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