Divorce is painful for everyone involved. If you’re a parent going through a divorce, your biggest worry is probably how the kids will cope and how to make life as easy as possible for them after the divorce. Ending your marriage does not mean you stop parenting your kids. However, things are definitely going to change, which means you and your ex need to have a solid parenting plan.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is a document containing the agreements you’ve made with your ex concerning how you plan to raise your children.
Is a parenting plan necessary?
Making a parenting plan might feel strange, but it is absolutely necessary. A lot of changes happen during and after a divorce. Without a plan, these changes will be really difficult to deal with.
A parenting plan helps you anticipate important decisions you must make about your child(ren)’s lives. Here are some issues you must address in your parenting plan.
1. Living schedule- Detailing when and for how long each parent has the kid(s) helps to establish a routine for everyone. It’s also useful for planning activities. Having a detailed living schedule helps in cases of emergency. Including a holiday schedule will help you avoid fights over who gets to keep the kid(s) during special holidays or occasions.
2. Education- What schools will the child(ren) attend? Who attends school meetings? How are educational costs split? There are a lot of questions to answer and ensure the kid(s) education runs smoothly.
3. Medical issues- Determining how to handle medical decisions early on, will save you a lot of stress. Decide things like, whose consent is needed, how payment is made, the doctors they see, what happens in an emergency, ahead of time. This would help to reduce tension when there’s a crisis.
4. New relationships- Decide how to prepare your child(ren) if one parent starts seeing another person. Explore things like communication with the other parent, and how to communicate this change with the child(ren).
5. Travel- What happens when one parent travels with the child(ren)? How often are they supposed to communicate with the other parent? How long can they travel for? Is the other parent’s consent necessary? These are important questions to answer.
Who can help you make a parenting plan?
Creating the perfect parenting plan that takes the unique needs of your kids into control, and meets your family’s needs as well is not an easy task. Working with a professional with the expertise to help you make the best decisions is essential.
This is where the child & adolescent specialist comes in.
A child & adolescent specialist is a mental health professional with great experience working with kids and families going through the divorce process. The specialist provides the following services:
– Helps you understand the specific needs of your child(ren) based on their age and current scientific research.
– Helps your child(ren) state their wishes, and brings their perspective into the plan.
– Helps you develop essential co-parenting skills that reduce conflict.
– Helps you create a solid parenting plan.
– Helps your communicate your divorce to your child(ren) effectively.