Guiding Questions for Parenting Plans
There are several important issues you should think about as you design your parenting plan.
1. What goals for our children do we both share?
2. I-low will we continue to be elective parents in separate households?
3. Do I only' want to resolve our legal matters, or also our family'issues?
4. How do we want our children to look back on this time and on our behavior as parents?
You need to spend time talking about what goals you have for your children, what their childhood should be like, what you want them to be like both as children and adults, and what each of you can contribute to these goals. Write it down on paper and share it with your children; they'll know that you both care about them, and they'll see that you're working together for their welfare. Set an example of cooperation — even though it may be a heroic effort.
Parenting is difficult under the most ideal circumstances, and it is more of a challenge when done from two households. Plan how you will coordinate your efforts: plan for the big issues (like school, religion, etc.), and plan for the small, day-to-day stuff(such as transportation, parties, etc.). You should set up regular meetings, emails, or phone calls to catch up on important developments, work out schedules, and discuss concerns.
Your parenting plan will spell out conditions and terms — some of which can be legally enforced. Take the time to design a good,flexible plan. Someday, as young adults, your children will look back on their ' childhood and judge how well you both handled this difficult time. They will look at how you cooperated, and they'll remember if you put their interests ahead of your"marital issues."
The Center for Online Divorce Education