4 Tips For a Better Parenting Plan

You know that when your divorce is finalized, you will no longer be married to your spouse. Because you have children, however, you will always be co-parents. For this reason, you want to create a plan that establishes a fair schedule for parenting time and specifies your respective responsibilities and duties when it comes to raising the children.

Well-designed parenting plans make life easier and less stressful for both parents and children, especially in the first months after divorce, but creating one can be hard work. Here are four tips for putting together a parenting plan that protects your child’s best interests while remaining flexible enough to adapt to evolving needs and circumstances.

1. Put your children’s needs first.

Unless circumstances advise otherwise, a parenting plan should enable the children to spend enough time with both parents to maintain a meaningful relationship. If you and your spouse still have bitter feelings about the divorce, you both need to set them aside and refrain from interfering with one another’s parenting time. For example, you may have to accept being alone on a holiday when you would rather have the kids around, knowing that they will be with you next time.

2. Take logistics into account.

Your parenting plan may have to take your respective addresses into account. If you and your former spouse live two streets away from each other, the plan will be different than if you live in different cities. In the latter case, mid-week visits may be problematic during the school year and younger children can find regular travel between homes unsettling.

No matter where you and your former spouse live, it’s also a good idea to have extra sets of clothes, toys, toiletries, and other items so that the children don’t feel like they are living out of a suitcase. No matter which parent they are with, they should always feel at home.

3. Be willing to compromise.

Sharing holidays and important events like birthdays will be difficult in the beginning, especially if you’ve always celebrated them as a family. Now is the time to take an honest look at the traditions that mean the most to you and be willing to compromise. For example, if New Year’s has always been spent with your former spouse’s parents, consider allowing the tradition to continue if you can have the children with you on a different holiday. You may not always agree, but a cooperative and flexible approach will make it easier to share important celebrations and to start creating new traditions.

4. Be as detailed as possible with summer vacations

Your parenting schedule should give your former spouse and you a fair amount of summer vacation time with the children. To avoid ambiguity and potential misunderstanding, be specific about how many weeks each parent receives, as well as when. As usual, be willing to compromise and revisit the arrangement if unexpected events like illness or a spontaneous vacation opportunity occur.

McCracken Kuhn Marks PLLC helps parents of all backgrounds develop fair and workable plans that maximize the child’s or children’s time with each parent. An arrangement that reflects their best interests is our top priority, so we spend as much time as you need to address concerns and overcome potential difficulties. Please call (615) 669-6859 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.

The following two tabs change content below.

McCracken Kuhn Marks PLLC

McCracken Kuhn Marks PLLC was founded by Attorneys Joanna McCracken, Irwin Kuhn, and Demi Marks with the goal of approaching family law in a new and innovative manner.

Latest posts by McCracken Kuhn Marks PLLC (see all)