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Understanding parenting plans to decide which is right for you

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Divorce

When parents in New York divorce or separate, creating a parenting plan is necessary. A well-structured plan helps ensure that children maintain strong relationships with both parents.

Several common types of parenting plans exist, and understanding the differences can help you choose one that works for your family.

Joint physical custody

Joint physical custody means that children spend significant time living with both parents. This arrangement allows children to have a stable and continuous relationship with each parent. The time can be split evenly or in a way that suits the family’s schedule. This plan works well when parents live close to each other and can cooperate effectively.

Sole physical custody

In sole physical custody, the children live primarily with one parent, while the other parent has visitation rights. This arrangement is often chosen when one parent has a more stable home environment or if the parents live far apart. Sole physical custody can provide consistency for the children, but it requires careful planning to ensure that the non-custodial parent remains involved in the children’s lives.


Bird’s nest custody is a unique arrangement in which the children stay in one home and the parents take turns living with them. This plan minimizes disruption for the children, as they do not have to move between homes. Bird’s nest custody works well when parents can afford and maintain multiple residences and can cooperate to manage the shared home effectively.

Supervised visitation

Supervised visitation is an arrangement where the non-custodial parent can only visit the children under the supervision of a third party. This plan is used when there are concerns about the children’s safety and well-being. Supervised visitation ensures that the children maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent in a controlled and safe environment.

Choosing a plan

Choosing a parenting plan depends on various factors, including the parents’ relationship, the children’s needs and the family’s circumstances. You must consider the children’s best interests and prioritize their stability and emotional well-being. Parents should communicate openly and may benefit from mediation or legal guidance to develop a suitable plan.