When it comes to co-parenting after divorce, the best parenting plan is the one you never have to use.
Creating the parenting plan is perhaps the most important part of your collaborative divorce process. But if you put the time and energy into creating a complete plan, you will lay the foundation for good communication and have the flexibility to work with your former spouse as your children’s needs change in the future. The habits of good co-parenting will be ingrained and will be second nature.
Minnesota law permits parents to avoid the labels of legal and physical custody if they have a parenting plan that spells out the important aspects of parenting. In collaborative divorce, parents frequently choose to use a child specialist who can help them develop a thoughtful parenting plan that is tailored to their family. Parenting plans typically include:
- the schedule of how the children will divide their time between the parents;
- how the parents will communicate about their children;
- how the parents will make important decisions related to their children, such as schools, activities, and religion;
- how the parents will handle child care and medical care;
- how the parents will handle contact with the extended family;
- how the parents will introduce the children to new partners.
When you invest in having the discussions necessary to reach agreement on these topics, you create a comprehensive written plan. But what’s even more valuable, you have experienced communicating as co-parents — working through disagreements, reaching an understanding about how to approach the ever-changing future landscape of parenting. The more you practice these skills, the better you become.
As your children grow up, you will have the solid foundation of communication and the flexibility to adapt to your children’s changing needs. You won’t need to pull out the document to look up how you are going to handle co-parenting.Tagged with: Child Custody • child specialist • children in divorce • Co-Parenting • co-parenting plans • Collaborative Divorce • Parenting Plans