Getting a divorce can be a complicated situation filled with high emotions. To help you and your children cope with the transition, it’s important that you enter co-parenting with a solid plan.
Creating a robust parenting plan agreement can benefit both parents and children. Keeping your child’s needs at the center of the plan and creating some wiggle room within the custody schedule are both ways to create a full plan that will work for many years to come.
Put children’s needs first
One of the main parts of a parenting agreement involves deciding who will have physical and legal custody of the children a divorcing couple shares. When both parents are fully capable and responsible, it probably makes the most sense to share custody evenly. If only one parent takes care of the children most of the time, parent-child relationships may suffer. Because when children see one parent less, it may be difficult to bond with them. And if the other parent has sole custody of the children, they might be too bogged down with parental duties to connect with their children emotionally. To combat the challenges of single parenting and make sure your child has a strong support system from both parents, creating an arrangement that allows for shared custody might be the most sustainable.
Keep it flexible
To create something that will last, a little flexibility may go a long way. This includes having an understanding that unplanned events and emergencies can impact a pre-determined custody schedule. Because life doesn’t always go as planned, creating a specific protocol for how to deal with schedule changes or schedule change requests can help you and your co-parent stay on the same page. Rolling with the punches isn’t easy for everyone to do. But having a plan for when things don’t go as planned can help you and your ex keep your peace among one another.
You may also come to a point where the arrangement you create now doesn’t make sense a few years down the line. Let’s say your children’s other parent moves far away from your children’s schools. Maybe instead of having the children every other week, your parenting time falls on weekdays, while your co-parent takes care of the kids on the weekend and through the summer. You should be realistic about these scenarios and create an agreement to rearrange the schedule as needed. Perhaps, you vow to keep consistent with the original schedule as much as possible. And you can plan to go back to court only if life events or long-distance moves make the set amount days of physical custody granted to each parent impossible to carry out.
Prioritizing your children while being respectful of your co-parent’s schedule are both essential ingredients for a lasting parenting plan.