There are few things that are more complicated than having to decide how to share time with your child with the other parent. Living apart, it is difficult to see your child as often as you’d like.

You and your estranged spouse don’t get along, and the breakdown of your marriage has not helped communication levels. You know, though, that you have to work out a plan for your child, or else they may not have the best arrangements moving forward.

Should you let a judge decide on the terms of a parenting plan?

In a worst-case scenario, it’s possible to have a judge decide the terms of your parenting arrangement, but this shouldn’t be something you turn to as a way to avoid negotiating with your spouse.

The reason why you should try to negotiate and work out a plan yourselves is that you and your spouse have more intimate knowledge of your child’s needs and your schedules. You can sit down together and determine how to divide your time in a way that is mutually agreeable and gives you as much time as possible with your child. If you allow a judge to decide, they will determine the best arrangement for your child with less consideration for your preferences.

Is there a better age for a mother or father to have primary custody or more time with a child?

Not particularly, with the exception of times when a child is still breastfeeding. In those instances, it is usually easier for the child to remain with their mother, but it is not necessarily required.

In other situations, there is no preference that should be had by a court. Either gender is capable of raising a child, so there should not be a bias against mothers or fathers being better or worse at providing care. Judges need to look at your relationship with your child and your ability to care for them.

Since there is no guarantee on how a judge would arrange your parenting plan, the best option is for you and your spouse to take time to sit down together and hash out the details. It may be complicated, and there could be some disagreements, but if you can work out a plan that you are both tentatively happy with, then that’s better than allowing someone else, who is essentially a stranger, decide on your child’s future living arrangements.

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