10 Tips to Creating a Successful Parenting Plan

Most marriages end poorly. You are not alone. Now, you and your partner are on different pages with everything and have to make decision. Dealing with the grief and loss of your marriage stirs up multiple emotions such as anger, anxiety, fear, frustration, sadness and bitterness to name a few. Wondering how to stay grounded in your decision making while managing your emotions takes efforts?

Here are 10 quick tips to keep in mind when managing the separation and creating a parenting plan

1. Be mindful and empathetic to your ex-partner. You are both grieving in your own and different ways. 

2. Think about a schedule based on children’s age, development and needs with a focus on maintaining and fostering the parent/child relationships with each parent as much as possible.

3. Create a parenting schedule that is consistent and predictable, with some honest flexibility. Do you want your children to see you fight for years?  They are only ‘children’ for a short time. Think big picture!

4. Children have a voice, consider obtaining their views and preferences particularly for children over 7 years old. Their choices may also change over time.  Yet, the final decision is with the parents. 

5. If you have access to a car and are already living in 2 homes, consider showing the children you care about their relationship with the other parent by dropping them off at the other home for their parenting time.

6. Just because you were the primary caregiver for the majority of the children’s lives, does not mean that the other parent should not have the opportunity to parent as well.  They may surprised you and the children when given the space; or not. Either way utilize your reliable supports to help you through this change of parenting responsibilities.

7. Consider how decisions are made. Will they be made jointly, will one person make the final decision while consulting the other parent or will you need a parenting coordinator to assist with managing the plan? Where do you stand with religion, education, medical (including immunizations), holidays, introducing new partners, psycho-social support (therapy), vacation and extracurricular activities.

8. Consider how you will communicate moving forward. Through an app or texting? Think about the language and tone, remove emotion and hurtful comments.  

9. Respect the children’s time and think about quality over quantity when doing a virtual chat or speaking on the phone during other parents time.  

10. Share this list with your ex.  The longer the conflict continues, the less likely ALL members of the family are able to emotionally heal and move forward with their lives.  Your children will remember how their parents behaved and treated each other during this time.  

Bonus: Remember, Children are resilient yet the goal is to aim for them to thrive not just survive your divorce.

Depending on your personal situation, your lawyer, mediator, divorce therapist or coach can assist you with questions, help ground your thinking and process with you what makes the most sense for you. 

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