The end of a marriage is not cut and dry if you have children. Where there are children involved, it is vital to have a good parenting plan in place. Sorting out the particulars and creating a plan that works can be frustrating and complicated. Below are some key points to consider to help you along the way. The most important element of the plan is that it is a functional, productive, and beneficial to the children.
1. Your Child Should Be At The Forefront Of All Considerations.
Setting aside the time to structure a plan should primarily take into account your childs needs. What is best for your child? Regardless of how the time involved is coordinated or around which of your schedules, the main focus needs to revolve around the child or children. What activities they want or need to be involved in, their education and extracurricular activities, etc. The latter means that both you and your ex may have to adjust your schedule around your child’s needs.
2. Discuss Actual Child Visitation Concerns
Often, parenting plans come equipped with a dose of pettiness and contention. This involves wasting time and energy that quite frankly, is better spent going over more legitimate issues. Safety concerns revolving around domestic violence or substance abuse issues or history of the latter, and things of that nature are legitimate concerns. Each of you will have your own parenting style, therefore, it is vital not to spend precious time criticizing one another’s parenting style but instead, trying to ensure that the child is enriched by the parenting time and working together if necessary.
3. Be Reasonable In Creating Your Parenting Plan
After a divorce, it’s common for parents to become protective and want to spend the majority of their time with the children. While it may be well-intentioned, the idea is to split the time between each parent equally so that the child has the same opportunity to grow with each parent in a healthy environment. It is not reasonable or even realistic that you have 70, 80, or 90% of the parenting time. The time that your child spends with their other parent is said to be beneficial to both yourself and the child as well.
4. Start Preparing Your Parenting Plan
Divorce is not only difficult for you and your ex, but it is also difficult for the children. They may be used to a regular schedule at home and can feel lost during this new process. It is important that they feel cared for and nurtured during the planning and execution of the parenting plan. They may not be able to fully verbalize their feelings, desires or needs so whenever possible, it is a good idea to discuss what their needs are with them. Prior to discussing this with your child, be sure that you and your ex are on the same page with a reasonable plan that works before introducing the plan to your child.
Do You Need Help?
If you need help dealing with a parenting plan and aren’t sure where to begin, get help from a family law attorney who can walk you through the process and address any concerns that you may have.