If you have children and have decided to get divorced, one of your biggest concerns as a responsible parent is how to create a custody plan that really works for your family.
One solution might be a parenting plan. This can improve the prospect of giving your children a smoother and less stressful transition towards a new family routine.
Here is a look at how to reach agreement between your ex spouse that successfully addresses custody and visitation rights, plus an overview of how to meet all their emotional needs and create ways to safeguard your children’s future.
The importance of a parenting plan
Getting divorced can be an emotional and stressful ordeal, especially when you have to find a workable solution that lets both of you carry on being the parents you want to be for your kids.
This is why a parenting plan is worth thinking about when you are going through your divorce arrangements. Try to find a way forward that feels right for you and your children.
Contact Family Lawyers Sydney and they will tell you that a parenting plan doesn’t have to be a formal process if you don’t want it to be. If you can both come to an amicable and informal agreement, that will be just fine. There is always the option of filing a formal document in court. This is sometimes required as part of a child custody agreement.
The main issue to resolve surrounds physical and legal custody, although there are plenty of other important issues that need sorting at the same time.
These include reaching an agreement on child support and a working out a visitation schedule that you are both happy with. It is also a good time to make some decisions on their future financial and medical needs. Talk about who is going to take care of health care bills, college savings and other parental responsibilities that continue after divorce.
A parenting plan is a comprehensive document that must be signed by both parents. It helps create a clear framework that addresses all the topics you would have discussed and resolved before splitting up.
How you put the plan together and how formal it is, will be down to both of you. But it can help you to focus on everything that needs to be done to continue parenting your children after the divorce.
If you are granted joint custody, there are bound to be times in the future where you will need to work together as parents and decide on important issues on behalf of your children.
How you share information with each other and how you communicate are things you might have taken for granted when you were married.
Having a parenting plan in place can help to set the agenda, it can help you both agree on a communication process at the time of your divorce. It is worth discussing this issue because it often means that there is less chance of disappointment or confrontation at a later date.
Unfortunately, this can still happen if one parent feels they are being excluded from some of the big decisions about their child.
Meeting all needs of your child
It is only natural to worry about the effect getting divorced will have on your children. Although recent research tends to suggest that there are plenty of kids who cope better with the situation than you might think.
If you have a good relationship with your child before the separation, there is every reason to be positive and believe that this can continue in the future after you are a divorced.
You are still mom or dad to them, and if you continue giving them all the emotional support they need, it can help reduce any stress or upset they are experiencing after your split.
It is worth remembering that a court will always want to consider the emotional wellbeing of your child when making a decision over custody of your child.
The main aim for everyone involved is to provide an environment that helps your child to develop in a normal and healthy way. If you do end up going through a formal court process when getting divorced, expect to be asked about how you are going to care and provide for your child in a way that meets their emotional needs.
Achieving a peaceful transition
Getting divorced is a testament to the fact that you no longer get along as well as you used to. However, it can make a big difference to the emotional wellbeing of your children if you try and put your differences aside and focus on working hard at achieving a peaceful transition.
It is always best to keep any heated conversations and arguments to yourselves. There is never going to be a good time to play out your battles in front of your children. Most kids are very perceptive, and they can spot any simmering tension very easily, which can make them anxious.
Even if you are not openly argumentative and simply want to try and talk over a few aspects of the separation arrangements, try your best to do this when the kids aren’t around and keep things as normal when you are with them. Try setting up a time and a space to meet to discuss any pending issues.
A final thought. When your child does go off to spend time with your ex, say goodbye to your child with a smile, and keep your emotions in check at least until they make it out of sight.
Jade Gallagher shares her support and knowledge online by writing articles about divorce. She went through a messy divorce 18 months ago but has come out the other side stronger, and happier, than ever.