When a marriage ends, the personal relationship between spouses often feels strained, at least in the short term. For those who have children, finding a way around the demise of the marital relationship can present a challenge.

If you are like many other divorcing parents here in Connecticut, you want to find a way to work together in order to continue to raise your children. You want to make it clear to them that they remain a priority in your lives and are more important than your feelings about each other.

Your parenting plan can help

Even in the midst of the turmoil and changes going on in your lives, divorcing parents get a unique opportunity. They can define their parenting relationship in a way that married couples don’t. During your marriage, you may not have given a second thought to how you and the other parent coordinate your efforts, make major decisions and establish routines. Your parenting plan can include these matters along with others below to help you create the co-parenting relationship you want:

  • Recognize in writing that each of you plays a vital role in the children’s lives.
  • You can create a parenting time schedule that works best for everyone involved. Make sure you address holidays, birthdays and any other special occasions.
  • Because of your divorce, you need to establish boundaries between the two of you. Each of you deserves a personal life and to spend time with the children as you see fit as long as it doesn’t put the children in danger.
  • Even though you don’t want to stray too far from your established schedule, you need to remain flexible. Things happen, and the more flexible each of you is willing to be with the other, the more pleasant life will be for everyone.
  • In fact, if you have an issue with your parenting time and need a babysitter, you could each agree to give the other the first shot at spending more time with the children.
  • If you can, discuss any unexpected changes to the schedule as soon as possible. For instance, if you have extended family coming in, you could coordinate with the other parent to accommodate that visit.
  • Determine whether you will attend school and extracurricular functions together. It would likely make your children happy to see you both at these events.
  • Discuss a general daily routine and discipline for the children regardless of which parent they are with. The more consistent you both can be, the less confusion and frustration there will be for the children, and you.

If you can incorporate these types of terms into your parenting plan, you are both more apt to follow it. This lays down a written foundation to help you become the co-parents you envision.