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3 necessities of a successful parenting plan

The most important decisions you will make during your divorce are the ones that affect your children. When you and the other parent let marital struggles cloud your judgment, your kids become equally impacted by the emotional tumult and the court's proceedings. By considering your children's needs throughout the separation, you have the ability to make the whole ordeal far less difficult. One of the ways to achieve this is to use a parenting plan.

To put together a successful parenting plan, you and the other parent need to work together to decide what's best for your children. Your kids aren't just assets that can be equally divided, and a thoughtful and practical parenting plan is the best way to acknowledge that. It's impossible to keep the disruption of your separation from affecting your children, but a purposeful agreement that contains the following components can minimize the hardship of their experience.

1. Quality time

The primary function of a parenting plan is to act in the best interests of the children. A common problem for many parents going through a separation is to confuse quantity with quality when it comes to the custody of their children.

By sitting down with your separated spouse and writing up a fair and defined plan, you can spend the time with your children when it matters most, such as vacations and holidays. For example, if you travel a lot for your job, then it would make sense to have the children spend most of their time with the other parent and arrange for them to come to your house between your business trips.

2. Flexibility

Psychologists will tell you that structure is incredibly important for a child in the aftermath of a divorce. Your goal as a parent should be to normalize routines as much as possible so that your children don't feel like their lives are in disarray.

However, life isn't always as consistent as you might want it to be. While your parenting plan should set clear guidelines for scheduling and time-sharing, it should also include a process by which these agreements can be amended when necessary. The established rules need to serve the children, and if those rules ever become impediments, you and the other parent should come together to adjust them appropriately.

3. Confer on major decisions

With shared custody comes shared responsibility over the bigger decisions that affect your children's lives. During your scheduled custody time, you will make the day-to-day choices.

However, with the larger decisions such as health care, long-term extracurricular activities and religious upbringing, you and the other parent should work together. These decisions can't be made lightly, so it's important that your parenting plan lays the groundwork for you to meet and confer on these situations.

There's nothing easy about going through a divorce, and the aftereffects are often long lasting. It's important to remember that your children also feel those ramifications. Putting together a responsible parenting plan is a sensible way to keep past mistakes from adversely affecting your child's future. To learn more, you may find it helpful to meet with an attorney experienced in such matters.

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Frank Family Law Practice
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