Parenting is undoubtedly both a rewarding and challenging experience in your life. When you decided to file for divorce, you knew from the start that it would have a significant impact on your children’s lives. Like many other parents who can relate to your circumstances, you were determined to cause the least amount of disruption possible, starting with creating a solid co-parenting agreement.
When you choose to mediate your divorce, you and your spouse agree to avoid litigation at all cost. This means that you must agree to peacefully discuss all child custody issues, including where your children will live, whether you will share physical and legal custody and other important matters. There are numerous other issues that you can incorporate into your co-parenting plan, however, to help your children cope with the changes in their lives with as little stress as possible.
Remember to write out terms for birthdays, holidays and special events
It’s common to focus on the priority issues when you’re mediating a child custody plan in a divorce. It’s also a good idea to include terms of agreement regarding where your children will spend their special events and milestone occasions, including holidays after your divorce. If you and your co-parent get along well, you might decide to share special occasions together so that your kids can be with both parents at the same time.
You might decide to alternate special event days, such as school plays, sporting events or even a child’s birthday. If this is your preference, it’s helpful to carefully write out terms in as much detail as possible, including whether they will spend the night at one parent’s house or the other or part of the day in one household and the rest of the day in the other.
Include important contact information in your parenting plan
In addition to your and your co-parent’s contact information, you may want to include all names, phone numbers, addresses and other info for babysitters, medical doctors and anyone else who will have a key role in helping to provide care for your children after your divorce.
If you are restricting who can pick up and drop off your kids for custody exchanges or to take them to a sports practice or social gathering, for instance, it’s important to incorporate these terms into your co-parenting agreement. Also, make sure your children are aware of such terms, in case a situation arises where someone shows up to take them somewhere who does not have permission to do so.
Writing your own terms of agreement makes divorce less stressful
When children witness their parents working together to create a parenting plan that helps them have a sense of normalcy and routine in their daily lives after a divorce, it provides them with much-needed coping skills. Agreeing to mediate your divorce shows your kids that you and their other parent are willing to talk things over with their best interests in mind.
Not only is mediation typically less stressful, it is also usually less expensive than litigation. Mediation allows you to maintain control over all the important issues that will affect your family as you adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle.