Managing the time your child spends with you and your former spouse can be one of the most stressful aspects of your divorce. You want what is best for your child, which in most cases is time with each parent, but it can be difficult to put aside your negative feelings. Even if things are relatively civil between you and your ex, scheduling a parenting time schedule can still be a frustrating experience. In addition to your child’s best interests, you must also take into account yours and your former spouse’s schedule.

There are a few things you can do to make the entire process easier. In addition to having organized information regarding your schedule, and your child’s school and extra-curricular schedule, your attitude toward settling parenting time matters can go a long way in making it easier on everyone.

In your approach to determining the parenting plan, try to do the following:

• Recognize your former spouse as a competent and caring parent
• Be willing to give your former spouse authority to care for and discipline your child
• Understand that criticizing or “bad-mouthing” your former spouse in front of your child is no good for anyone
• Put your feelings aside and focus on what is best for your child
• Be willing to communicate with your former spouse concerning issues that affect your child

It’s a lot to ask of people who just made the life-changing decision to end their marriage and go their separate ways. The truth is, when you share parenting responsibilities, completely severing ties with you former spouse is impossible. The only reason a parent should ever interfere with a child’s relationship with his or her other parent is when the child is in danger of physical or emotional harm. Otherwise, both parents should find a way to accept their connection to one another and build a relationship based around parenting, in lieu of their romantic ties.

Parents who are able to put their children first and transition from a married family to a divorced family support their child’s healthy development. A successful parenting plan achieves the following:

• Allows a child to spend adequate time with both parents
• Provides each parent the peace of mind of knowing their child is safe and supervised when they are not around
• Permits parents to move on with their lives and have time for themselves because they are not forced into a full-time single parent role
• Creates a comprehensive emotional support system for the child and his or her parents. Not only does the child have two parents in his or her corner, each parent also has an equally invested resource in the other.

Many couples find they make a great parenting team, despite their ability to sustain a marriage. Meeting the first challenge of developing a successful parenting plan lays the groundwork for a healthy, happy parent and child relationship.

If you would like to speak with someone about developing a parenting plan for your family or you need answers about divorce, contact Michele Cline to schedule a consultation.