In the middle of a divorce, separating spouses may become so consumed with their needs that they fail to consider the needs of their children, especially when working on a parenting plan. Regardless of the issues you encounter in your divorce, those involving child custody and parenting schedules are often the most challenging.
It is crucial for you and your spouse to try and work out any potential kinks in your parenting plan yourself. If you do not, the judge will make decisions that align with what the courts perceive to be the best interests of your children, which may not include considerations for your needs and concerns. Here are some things to keep in mind while working on your parenting plan.
1. Document everything
There is nothing wrong with wanting to believe your ex-spouse will honor every parenting commitment he or she makes, but verbal promises may be difficult to enforce. Sit down with your children’s other parent and put all responsibilities and expectations in writing.
2. View parenting with an ex as a business arrangement
It may take some time for you to recover emotionally from the end of your marriage. However, you should try to keep emotions at bay during and after every interaction with your ex-spouse, especially when it pertains to parenting. Always place your kids’ needs above your own and make an extra effort to avoid negativity and conflicts with their other parent. It is often best to treat parenting as a business transaction that is separate from the end of the relationship.
3. Remain flexible
Even the best-laid parenting plans are challenging to follow at times. Life is full of change. Maintain some flexibility for the times when unforeseeable issues arise, and your ex-spouse needs to adjust the schedule. You may need the same consideration from him or her at some point, as well.
Creating an effective parenting agreement may seem like a frustrating task, but the payoff is well worth it. Your efforts help to reduce the stress and provide your children with much-needed stability and consistency during a challenging time.