It goes without saying: divorce is immensely challenging for everyone involved. In the midst of emotional turmoil and new financial struggles, it can be extremely difficult to stay on top of all of your obligations and commitments.
The one part of your life where you least want to let anything fall by the wayside is in raising your children. If your situation is one that will allow for you and the other parent to remain active in your kids' lives, then you need an effective parenting plan for the short and long terms.
Co-parenting is a complicated relationship that can take years to master. Keep in mind, though, that the sooner you establish a workable parenting plan, the sooner life can start feeling normal again -- for you and your kids.
The first few months after a divorce are when everyone, parents and children alike, tend to be the most emotionally vulnerable. The interactions you have now could set an emotional precedent for the next several years, and your decisions now can set a legal precedent for your child custody rights.
As we discussed in a previous post, temporary orders can be used to establish rules and guidelines for a variety of issues during separation and divorce -- including parenting time.
Despite everything you are going through personally with your divorce, maintaining a consistent relationship with your kids may be one of the easier challenges in the first few months of change. The far greater challenge may be achieving consistency between you and the other parent.
You and your co-parent likely have some major philosophical differences, but if you allow those differences to undermine each other as parents, then the children are really the ones who lose the most. It is a good idea for you and the other parent to lay out some clear guidelines to help ensure that the kids have the same or similar expectations about both parents.
Rely on Sound Legal Counsel
No two divorces are alike. Sometimes parents are able to quickly create an effective parenting plan, while in other divorces, parental agreement is nearly impossible.
In any case, an experienced divorce and family law attorney can get to know your concerns and goals, as well as protect your rights and interests -- and those of your children.
For more on these matters, please see our overview of establishing creative parenting plans.