Parenting plans are the basis of your co-parenting relationship. When you set it up, you have to think about what is best for the children and not what is easiest for you. This can be difficult because you might want everything your way after the divorce. Taking a step back and looking at the situation as a whole might help you determine what you are going to do to make the transition from one home to the other a bit easier for the kids.
Telling your children that you are divorcing is a big event in their life. One thing that you need to be prepared for is the questions that are bound to come up. You and your ex may need to make a parenting plan before you tell the kids because a good number of these questions are going to have to do with how they are going to spend time with both parents. We know that these questions won't be easy to answer, but taking the time to make a plan can help you to put the kids' feelings at ease.
When couples with kids divorce and begin to parent across two households, their individual parenting styles often emerge. When they were together, one parent may have simply gone along with what the other parent did, so that spouse's parenting style was the one the kids got used to.
Sometimes, following divorce, one parent may be largely absent from their children's lives. Often this is because they're living far from the kids and the custodial parent. Maybe they're even overseas while serving in the military. Unfortunately, some parents have little or no contact with their kids because they're incarcerated or in an in-patient recovery or mental health facility.
If you and your spouse are divorcing, your children have likely already witnessed some parental conflict in your home. Now that you're co-parenting across two homes, you're probably more cognizant of the impact of parental conflict on your kids. You've heard about the negative impacts on kids' lives, well into adulthood.
If you and your former spouse are recently divorced and still have a highly combative relationship that's making successfully co-parenting your children impossible, your attorney, therapist or others may have suggested the option of "parallel parenting." While that's generally not the ideal co-parenting arrangement over the long run, it can help parents put some space between each other until anger and other emotions subside. Perhaps most importantly, it can save kids the stress of seeing their parents continuing to fight.
If you're going through a divorce, you've probably heard a lot of talk about "moving on" from your marriage. However, the end of a marriage is not completely unlike the death of a loved one. Something you held dear is gone. Even if it's ultimately for the best, it's natural to feel grief -- and even go through the stages of grief (starting with denial and ending with acceptance).
Let's be honest: Co-parenting can be hard. You and your ex still have to raise your kids. You both have a right to see them. You have to work together to do this. You can end your marriage, but you can never stop being parents.
If your visitations with your children are required to be supervised, you likely feel a good deal of pressure to make them go well so that you can eventually be granted unsupervised visitation rights and eventually even shared custody. You may be allowed to have the visits in your home with another adult (a family member or perhaps a social worker or therapist) present. You may have to go to a designated facility where other parents and children are spending time together.
If you and your spouse continue to have a high-conflict relationship even after you're no longer living together and after the divorce has been finalized, working together as co-parents can be challenging. However, it's essential to find a way to do that if you're sharing custody of your children.