Among the many concerns divorcing parents have throughout the process of ending their marriage, establishing a solid parenting plan that equips them to effectively care for their children after the separation is often the most worrisome. This is particularly true for those experiencing a contentious divorce, as relationships with more tension tend to lead to major disagreements, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like custody and parenting arrangements. However, creating a fair, realistic parenting plan that supports your children’s health and well-being is possible as long as you are able to keep things in perspective in the midst of your divorce.
Acting on Behalf of Your Children’s Best Interests
Checking in with yourself is key as you begin to work on constructing a parenting plan during your divorce. Here are three ways to help you determine whether or not your parenting plan arrangements truly have your children’s best interests at heart:
- Are you tuning into your emotions? – Even if your split is mostly amicable and you are able to communicate with the other parent civilly and respectfully, it is important to be aware that emotions can be deceiving, even under the very best of circumstances. Whether you harbor hostile feelings toward your ex-partner or not, feelings of grief and loss are common and inevitable parts of the divorce experience. It is not unusual for parents to make requests, demands, or modifications to a parenting plan when they are feeling vulnerable, resentful, or out of control. Ask yourself if the decisions you are making during the parenting plan agreement process are based on how you are currently feeling about your spouse and the end of the marriage, or if they reflect a genuine concern for how the arrangements will affect your children.
- Have you asked your children what they need? – Divorce psychology experts tell us that protection and autonomy are two primary needs that children have during a divorce. While both younger children and teens may have a difficult time articulating what they need from you during and after the separation, it is helpful to encourage them to communicate with you and ask them outright what you can do to help them get through this tough time. Psychologists emphasize that this does not mean parents should necessarily allow children to choose their new living arrangements or make other major decisions. This can be detrimental to their growth and mental health, and many are not mature enough to make such decisions. However, it is important to find out what they need, from their own point of view. This in turn can help you make the decisions for them, based on what you believe is best for them in the long run.
- Are you providing structure? – Kids also need a sense of structure throughout the divorce. Children rely on some sense of order to feel safe and free of anxiety. Review your parenting plan and ask yourself if the arrangements you are proposing offer your kids predictable, reliable routines they can count on. Children of all ages thrive on stability, and they need to know they will live in an environment that is nurturing and supportive, regardless of how their parents feel about one another.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer
Drafting a perfect parenting plan is easier said than done. You may find that last-minute changes are necessary, and you may need to make further modifications if you discover over time that your original guidelines are problematic for the whole family. Wherever you are on the divorce journey, a competent Lombard, IL parenting plan attorney can help you finalize a plan that meets you and your children’s needs. Speak with our knowledgeable team at Mevorah Law Offices LLC by calling us today at 630-755-6426.