5 Tips to Simplify Your Co-Parenting Plan
Simplify your co-parenting plan with these 5 pieces of advice.
Your co-parenting plan should focus on what is in the best interests of your child now and as he or she grows. Your child should always be priority number one when creating an effective co-parenting plan, and you must be willing to put differences with your ex aside. So, how do you design a co-parenting plan that will work for all involved?
1. Keep it consistent
Adjusting to life after divorce is as challenging for your kids as it is for you. Before you negotiate a plan and time schedules with your co-parent, consider your child’s current day-to-day routines, childcare arrangements, school schedules, and extracurricular activities.
Questions to ask yourself as you plan the co-parenting agreement:
- What routines can you keep consistent?
- What routines need to change if the kids are alternating between households?
- How can you minimize disruptions for your kids?
- If your kids are old enough, can you involve them in the process of structuring the co-parenting plan?
You may want to ask your kids if there are days of the week that they prefer to live in one location versus another to better accommodate their planned schedules and activities. This not only benefits your children, but you and your co-parent as well.
2. Consider living close to your co-parent
This is a hard decision to make, especially for recently separated parents. However, one of the most challenging parts of co-parenting is the logistics of shuttling your kids back and forth between homes, on top of school, childcare, and activities. Depending on where you and your co-parent live, you and your kids could end up spending far more time in the car, traveling back and forth. If you and your co-parent are able to live near one another, it could make for easier custody transitions on everyone.
3. Don’t focus on winning or losing
Most parenting plans are not completely even on every issue. You may be the parent who ends up traveling more because your ex lives closer to the school. Don’t try to punish your former spouse by taking something away from them because you feel you are “giving” more. Both parents will have to make sacrifices if you are committed to a healthy co-parenting relationship. While you may feel like you are sacrificing more now, that might change in the future.
4. Convenience is not the ultimate goal
Believe it or not, convenience is not the number one goal of the parenting plan. The purpose of the parenting plan is to create a schedule for your children that gives them quality time with both parents. Your parenting plan will likely end up being inconvenient for you at times, but you need to keep it in perspective. Above all else, you and your co-parent are doing this to benefit your children.
5. Be flexible
Make sure you build a process into your co-parenting plan that determines how you will handle changes to the plan. No parenting plan lasts forever. Your kids are growing and changing, and they are going to have new interests, new friends, and new responsibilities. You and your co-parent will need to adjust to their schedules as time goes on. You and your co-parent will also face life changes that need to be addressed. You may get new jobs, you may start dating someone else, or you may re-marry. Life is full of interruptions and complications. Communication between you and your co-parent is critical to making the parenting plan work overtime.
If you and your co-parent are looking for a secure, accountable way to communicate about your co-parenting plan, sign up for TalkingParents today. Our service includes a number of tools to help co-parents coordinate regarding agreements like this, while keeping everything on an Unalterable Record.