For many couples considering divorce, the first concern is for the kids. No matter how amicable, divorce is difficult on children, but having a co-parenting plan can provide a stable situation for your children and help them navigate the changes in their lives.
Joint custody arrangements are often stressful and fraught with challenges, but unnecessary conflict can be avoided just by altering your mindset. Begin to think of your ex as a colleague; you are both working to raise happy, healthy children, and the best way to do that is to have a cordial working relationship.
To help kids continue strong, loving relationships with both parents post-divorce, you need to show them that they are more important than the conflicts that ended your marriage. You need to focus only on the needs of your children, and set anger and frustration aside when doing so. By following some simple guidelines, you and your ex can form a parenting plan that will benefit your children now and in the future.
Consistency is Critical
Try to ensure that rules and discipline are the same whether the kids are with mom or dad. Things that are against the rules in mom’s home should also be against the rules at dad’s. Being at the other parent’s home should not be a reprieve from punishment. If a child has lost TV privileges at dad’s, for example, they should not be allowed to watch TV at mom’s. This helps your children know what is expected of them, and what to expect from their parents.
Two Heads are Better than One
As in any split, conflicts will undoubtedly arise between you and your ex. If you can put aside the acrimonious feelings and work together, you’ll be teaching your children a lasting lesson. If they see their parents cooperating to solve a problem, they will learn how to peacefully settle their own issues.
Keep Everyone in the Loop
A huge part of your new “working relationship” is about communication. Make sure your ex knows about important school and extracurricular events, big games or matches, and medical appointments. Communicate with your children as well. Remind them a few days before they leave that they’ll be headed to the other parent’s home and let them know if they can expect the other parent to be picking them up, dropping them off, or attending a special event.
Developing and sticking to your parenting plan can be a difficult process for you and your children, but the benefits will be huge. When the going gets tough, remember that you are doing this in the best interests of your children. Your marriage may have ended, but your family is forever.
At Posternock Apell, PC we have experienced attorneys in family law and employment law. If you’re going through a divorce or feel that you’ve been discriminated against, contact our knowledgeable lawyers today.