Divorce can be tough on everyone involved, especially the children. If you have decided to end your marriage, one of the most important things you need to work on from the beginning is how you are going to raise your children. This is where an effective parenting plan comes in.
Regardless of the circumstances of your divorce, your children deserve the structure and stability that comes with a good parenting plan. Of course, discussing how you are going to split your children’s time with your ex can be hard, especially if you are dealing with a difficult divorce. However, a well-thought-out parenting plan can set you off to a good start and ensure that your children are at the center of most of your decisions.
Here are two things you need to consider when drafting a parenting plan with your ex:
1. How you can best serve your child’s interests
No matter how acrimonious your divorce is, your children should never find themselves in the middle of your battle. They need the assurance that both parents love them and will always be in their lives. As such, you should do everything in your power to create a parenting plan that serves the best interest of the child. Whatever custody order the court rules on, it is important that both parties respect and adhere to it.
2. Both parents’ financial abilities beyond the basics
Child support obligations are handled separately from child custody. That being said, including provisions for parental responsibility in the parenting plan may be beneficial, especially if the parents want to share expenses. Who will pay for birthday gifts? What about the children’s extra-curricular activities? Having a clear idea of who will pay for the expenses that are not covered by child support can help avert misunderstandings down the road.
As you work on your divorce, it is important that you keep the needs of your children in mind. A properly negotiated parenting plan can help you focus on your children’s best interests.