Even in the midst of dividing up property, bank accounts and more, your primary concern probably involves making sure your children get through this transition as well as possible. You may even have a vision of what co-parenting will look like for you and your future former spouse.
It may be possible to make that vision a reality, especially if the other parent feels as you do. You and the other parent can help do that by creating a parenting plan, which is about so much more than just deciding when each of you will have the children in your home.
What can a parenting plan do for you?
Your parenting plan should represent the blueprint for how you will maintain your relationships with your children and give them the best opportunity to thrive despite your divorce. Some of the elements you can cover include the following:
- You can establish a set of "house rules" that apply regardless of which of you the children are with at the time. This provides them with the structure and consistency they need, especially now.
- You can provide them with the security they need by letting them know that your love for them means more than your issues with the other parent.
- You can help them avoid some of the pitfalls children face from divorce, such as depression and behavioral issues, since they know you put them first and want to spend as much time with them as possible.
- The example you and the other parent set for your children now regarding conflict resolution, nurturing relationships and working together under these circumstances could carry them through to their own relationships as they grow.
- Watching you and the other parent find a healthy way to resolve conflicts helps them to learn the same, which will serve them well in their own lives.
Right now, more than anything, your children need to know that, just because your marriage is over, it does not mean you stop being a family. They want to know that you always love them no matter what. Moreover, avoiding the adversarial nature of courtroom battles reduces the stress and frustration on everyone. Even though no one expects the two of you to remain best friends, you can find a way to forge a new relationship as co-parents that gives your children what they need, and perhaps gives you what you need as well.