How to Create a Parenting Plan That Works
Divorces can be rough, not just for the two adults involved but for the children as well. In the mix of high emotions and property division, your children's needs can easily get swept under the rug.
To ensure that you meet their needs, it would be best to create a parenting plan. Of course, making this plan can take some time, especially if both parties cannot agree.
If you are going through a divorce and are in the process of creating a parenting plan for your children, continue reading below. We will cover what steps you can take to create an effective parenting plan and who you can contact for more information.
Understand Your Child’s Interests
The first step in creating a parenting plan that works is to be mindful of your child's best interests. Take the child's physical and emotional needs into consideration. For example, their physical needs can encompass their basic needs such as food, clothing, medical care, exercise, etc. Emotional needs include:
- Maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents
- Handling their big emotions during this massive change
- Ensuring that their mental state is in a good place
In addition to those two basic needs, you should consider any extracurricular activities your children are in and the distance between you and your ex. Please make sure you think about them and the things they enjoy doing and how those things can change when you and your ex separate.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
As mentioned earlier, your child may have some big emotions they're dealing with due to the divorce. They may not understand why you and your ex are splitting, which can cause an emotional reaction.
Traveling back and forth between two households is complex, and your ex may have different rules in their house than you do in yours. Consider what they may miss out on and gain from having two separate households. Try to minimize their disruptions as much as you can.
Consider Your Children’s Input
Giving your children the opportunity to provide you with their input about the parenting plan could be beneficial. Of course, if you have relatively young children, their opinion may not be as helpful.
If you have older children, they may appreciate being heard, even if you decide against their input. It is best to explain to them why you disagree with what they have to say so that you don't invalidate their feelings.
Consider Extracurricular Activities
If your children stay after school for sports or other extracurricular activities, you may want to keep that routine in mind. Don't forget any seasonal events or activities.
For example, if your child has basketball on Tuesday and Thursday every week, make sure you factor that into your parenting schedule. The last thing you want to do is create a co-parenting schedule that drops your child's favorite activity.
Consider Special Needs
If any of your children have special needs, you know how their unique challenges impact their relationships and their everyday life. When evaluating your custody schedule, ensure you factor in your child's special needs so they can thrive during this new transition.
What Not To Do When Creating a Parenting Plan
There are some common issues parents face when creating a parenting plan that you should try to avoid. For example, neither parent should focus on winning or making the other parent lose.
Creating a parenting schedule is not about who is the better parent or who has the better resources. It is about creating an environment where both parties decide on what is best for the children involved.
The reality is that both parties will have to sacrifice something to make it work. Don't assume that your ex isn't doing as much as you.
Don’t Be Vengeful
Creating a custody plan is not about making the other parent pay for what they did in the relationship that caused the split in the first place. Now is not the time to make your children pay for you and your ex's past choices. Instead, use this to focus on how to better the lives of your kids.
Do I Need a Custody Lawyer?
If you and your ex are able to make a parenting plan that works for both parties, you may not need to reach out to an attorney. But if you find yourself fighting the other parent on a solid custody plan, you would benefit from reaching out to a reputable family attorney.
The attorney will look over your case and provide you with the best course of action. They can represent you in court and advise you of your rights as a parent.
When looking for an attorney to work with, make sure they practice family law and have experience handling cases similar to yours. You also want to ensure you work with an attorney who is empathetic to your situation and will do their best to solve any custodial issues you have with your ex.
Create a Comprehensive Parenting Plan
Creating a parenting plan that works for all parties involved should not be complicated. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees on what is best for the children. To help make the process easier, you may want to reach out to a reputable custody lawyer.
They can help you sort through your case and represent you and your children's best interest in court. Contact us if you are going through a divorce and need help creating a comprehensive parenting plan.