As a parent, you like routine. You have a set schedule during the week and you want to fit everything into it. That makes it easiest to plan.
When you get divorced and you end up with visitation rights, it is easy to set up a schedule that fits your life and then stick to it. After all, your 2-year-old does not care exactly when you spend time together. They're always free.
When your children get older, though, you may want to rethink your schedule. For teens, flexibility is very important.
The issue is that teens have a lot of things going on, and they place great value on these things. Events may include sports, school activities or just spending time with friends. Teens have their own schedules. If you force them to fit their lives to your schedule, they won't be pleased.
For instance, maybe you always visited your daughter at 3:30 on Wednesdays, after she got home from school. You get out of work early that day.
When she's young, that's fine. But what if she gets into high school and joins the volleyball team? They have practice after school every day of the week, and then they have tournaments on the weekends. Suddenly, your schedule no longer works. You're not going to tell your daughter to skip practice just because that's when you can see her, so you need to find ways to work around her schedule.
It's important for parents to consider the realities of life after divorce when thinking about their child custody options. Make sure you know how to create a plan that works for your family.