Creating an effective parenting plan is not without its challenges, especially when it means divorced parties must work together towards a common goal. It’s easier when your children are younger, but once they’re teenagers with opinions and goals, you may need to find ways to include them in the process. Modern teens have such active social, educational, extracurricular lives that can make it difficult to put your desired parenting plan into place without your teenage child’s input. Younger children need consistency, and your older children need flexibility, so creating the most effective parenting plan requires parents committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure their kids are set up for success post-divorce.
Tips for Creating an Effective Parenting Plan
One of the best ways to create a parenting plan that starts off right is by allowing your children the opportunity to contribute. Listening to your children’s concerns about how time-sharing will impact their life and schedule is a great place to start. Here are some additional tips for where and how to approach the conversation.
So, whether your child is just starting school or preparing to enter high school, here are several tips to ensure you end up with the best parenting plan:
- Teamwork for the Win: Now that you’re divorced, it can be tempting to revert back to independent decision-making because you’re a single person again. However, this is a mistake because it’s hard to keep your children happy and well-adjusted this way. Coparenting is a teamwork activity. If you want your parenting plan to work, you need to be prepared to compromise. You don’t have to agree on every subject, and you can definitely voice your opinion and make suggestions to your ex about how the kids should be parented – but your child needs one set of rules for co-parenting to work. You and your ex need to work cooperatively to create a parenting plan and be willing to put in the level of teamwork necessary to execute the plan.
- Flexibility is Key: Kids have dynamic lives at every age. When they’re younger, there are playdates, school plays, and parent days to attend. Once your child is older, you have sporting events or band concerts that require your attention. Whatever the activity or age, your kids are probably busy, which means your parenting plan must be flexible. You can’t expect your child to miss their baseball game because it’s your visitation weekend. Your time-sharing plan may need to change each year based on your child’s hobbies and academic calendar. Creating a flexible plan that better aligns with your family’s busy schedule makes it more effective and more likely to be successful.
- Household Rules Can’t Change: Uniform rules can be one of the biggest challenges to the co-parenting model. You divorced your former spouse for a reason, and the thought of working together to create rules that you must follow in your home seems unfair and illogical. As parents, the one thing parents must agree on is how they will parent their kids. Even if you’re no longer married, you should still agree about how your kids will be raised and the rules they will follow or the values that will be modeled for them. When each household has different rules, it can become a tool of division separating parents into good cop and bad cop.
Cooperative Divorce and Child Custody Solutions
At Mitchell & West, LLC, we realize that working with your ex-spouse can be challenging. But creating the best parenting plan for your children means sacrificing what you want or what makes you comfortable for what is most likely to work for your kids in the long term. Your parenting plan should be more of a living document that changes as needed to honor the spirit of your custody agreement. The goal of your parenting plan is to parent in a way that helps your kids thrive while living without both parents. When your parenting plan meets those goals, it’s at its most effective.
Our family law attorneys can help you settle any time-sharing or parenting plan issues you may encounter while negotiating your settlement agreement. If you have issues post-divorce, you can make an appointment with our child custody specialists. Call us today at (305) 783-3301 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.