Going through a divorce is difficult; when you have children, it can be especially challenging. You want to protect your children and ensure they feel loved and happy regardless of your relationship with your ex-partner. That’s why it’s essential to create an effective parenting plan that fits the needs of your children, your ex, and yourself.
A parenting plan outlines the custody agreement. This plan should include scheduling details and custodial rights of each parent, as well as financial information, communication procedures and other relevant material.
Consider the following tips when creating your plan:
- Create a schedule. Determine when you and your ex will spend time with your child. For example, maybe your child stays with your ex during the school week and with you over the weekend. Consider holidays and extended school breaks as well. Planning out a schedule offers structure and reassurance to your child during this difficult time.
- Don’t speak ill about your ex. The last thing you want is for your child to feel stuck in the middle of a divorce – or worse, to feel like they must choose sides. Regardless of your personal feelings toward your ex-spouse, try to keep a civil co-parenting relationship for the sake of your child.
- Respect what your children want. Depending on your child’s age, you might ask them what they want. Young children may not be able to articulate their desires, but older children and teenagers may have well-reasoned concerns and opinions. Take the time to discuss the situation with your children and consider what they want so they feel comfortable and happy with the final decision.
- Maintain open communication with your ex. Co-parenting situations truly excel when both parents can communicate competently about their children’s development. Keep each other informed of your child’s progress and challenges – whether in school, after-school activities, or at home – so that everyone is on the same page.
- Be flexible. Things won’t always go as you expect. In those instances, be flexible and understanding to both your child and your ex. Working together offers the best outcome for everyone involved.
Children can thrive in a loving, safe and healthy environment provided by both parents. It won’t always be easy, but if you keep these tips in mind, you can build a strong foundation for your child that will allow them to grow.