Creating a parenting plan can be a headache. It takes a lot of negotiation and cooperation. Take a look at our tips for ways to make things a lot easier.
Contact a lawyer
Before you do anything, it’s important to get a family lawyer involved. You don’t know how difficult this can actually get. You might find your coparent has a sticking point they are not willing to move on and you won’t know how to handle it. It might be something you care about, but you’ll give in to avoid a fight. If you care about it, it’s worth getting a lawyer involved. They can advocate on your behalf and look for compromises that you might not be seeing. You can use your divorce solicitor to iron out the details of splitting custody.
Tackle the big things last
Start small so that you can get equal footing and show that you are willing to compromise before you get to the big things. Now, small doesn’t need to mean they will hardly affect your child, but if you’re not bothered about them, there’s no point in fighting. For example, if your partner has a long and beautiful middle name picked out for your child, if you don’t care about using it, don’t bother arguing about it. You’re only going to start off on the wrong foot and both parents will quickly be unwilling to budge.
Whereas, if you both have a strong opinion on how to raise your child as it pertains to religion, and they are not matching, then leave that until further down the line, when you are both feeling calmer.
Be willing to compromise
On that note, be willing to compromise on the things that don’t matter to you and the things that do. Both of you will have to come into the room knowing that compromise is ultimately going to win here. You both want Christmas with your kids? One of you will have to settle for New Year’s or decide that a co parent Christmas sounds perfectly jolly.
However, this will only work if both are willing to compromise so the other doesn’t get walked over.
Add provisions for long term changes
Things change, especially as your kids grow up. It’s not just children that grow. As your child grows, you might let go of that strictly organic and homegrown, homemade, never a sprinkle of sugar, diet that you fed your kids, and be fine with tossing them some chicken nuggets. You might see a change in them you don’t like and decide to compensate with parenting tactics.
The point is, your children’s changes might make your parenting plan pointless, so it’s important to set about provisions should circumstances change. It will save you from ongoing visits to court and more fights in the future.
Lay out finances and set out a schedule
This is the place to get a lot of things set in stone. You can negotiate maintenance pay and visitation rights and get it down on paper, making sure that both parents stick to the agreement. Your parenting schedule will require a lot of thought as it will dictate how much time the children spend with each parent, under what circumstances, and how much moving around would be required.
Keep your child at the centre of the decision making
It’s important to remember that what you want isn’t the point here. Any decision that isn’t directly, objectively, best for the child, should have what the child wants at heart. When alone with the child you might want to posit a few hypotheticals at them. If they don’t actually like football and are only doing it because you encouraged them, well that’s something to bring up at the table.
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