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What to consider when discussing a post-divorce parenting plan

Effectively co-parenting after a divorce requires an ongoing, conscious effort by both parties. While a parenting plan should be part of every divorce negotiation involving children, there will inevitably be unforeseen situations that arise. A thorough, written agreement can prevent such situations from getting out of hand. Let's take a look at some key points made by Psychologists familiar with divorce that should be included to alleviate unnecessary disputes and damaging impulsive reactions.

First, it should be stated that the parties agree to treat each other with respect at all times. This means speaking to, as well as about, each other in a positive manner. Keep in mind that children, although maybe not present, are always watching and aware. The parent's behavior is the model from which they will learn acceptable social interaction. One parent should never speak negative or condescending words about the other to or in front of a child. This action could have a negative emotional effect on the child.

Second, both parties should agree that the children's needs and best interests comes first. This means that everyone will work together to be accommodating and reasonable based on a schedule that would provide the children with the most routine and stability. Although schedules can be inconvenient at times, both parents agree to be willing to do what it takes to maintain consistency.

Other considerations may be agreeing to be respectful of the other parent's relationship with the child. In other words, when it does not interfere with the well-being of the child, agree to be respectful of differing parenting styles and rules. Agree to always make every effort to be on time when picking up or dropping off a child. In their mind, this shows that a parent values and appreciates the time with them. Always try to maintain open lines of communication with the children. Let them know that even though mom and dad are divorced, that doesn't mean that either ceases to be a parent.

In the midst of a divorce, it can be difficult to think clearly and make sure all bases are covered in a parenting plan. Consider setting up a meeting with a child custody attorney who can answer questions, offer suggestions, and help compose a plan amenable to all parties.

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