Virginia Satir, a well-known psychologist in the family and divorce field, once said, “Parents are teachers of human beings, not owners of human beings.” This is a wise view to keep in mind when creating your parenting plan. A child needs the love and affection of both parents, but they also need both as teachers. These roles should override your desire to “own” your children. Ultimately, you cannot own them: you can only prepare them for their future. How well you prepare them will ultimately reflect your qualities as parents.
Another well-known expert in this field, Joan Kelly, has observed that, “it is not the divorce per se, but the conditions and agreements the parents create during and after the divorce that will determine the child’s adjustment.” The marriage is over, as are your lives as Mom and Dad parenting under the same roof. You will begin new lives as Mom and Dad parenting apart.
There are three basic types of living arrangements for children: sole custody, split custody, and shared custody. The most common is sole custody, in which one parent becomes the resident parent while the other has “reasonable access.” About 70% of all parenting plans result in the mom being the resident parent – although the number of fathers becoming the resident increases with income.