It is frequently written that the most difficult decisions during divorce relate to children. This is true, but means little until you actually have to make them yourself.
Even though your relationship has come to an end, you will need to co-parent with your ex-spouse for many years. A workable parenting plan provides the road map. Speaking with a skilled family law attorney is the best way to get started.
In this post, we discuss five other tips that can help get you off to the right start.
Follow the "Best Interests" standard
The Colorado courts are guided by the best interests of the child standard when making decisions. This should be a touchstone for you as a parent during negotiations and mediations.
Some of the issues to consider in designing a workable parenting plan include:
- Distance between homes
- Interests and activities of the children
- Relationships with friends and relatives
Be realistic or a plan may be doomed from the start.
Many tools exist to help with communication. With a little research you may be able to set up a system that ensures your child does not become a messenger.
Something as simple as a scheduling app may avoid ongoing conflict. Our Family Wizard includes a calendar, messaging board and expense log to keep track of child-related matters.
Put decision-making responsibilities in writing
Who will have the responsibility of making important decisions related to school choices, religion and extracurricular activities? The default is that these decisions are made jointly. If you prefer a different arrangement, put it in writing.
Add conflict resolution strategies
As you co-parent, you are bound to get into fights along the way. How will you resolve them?
Various options exist from mediation to a consultation with a parenting coordinator. They all cost money, so account for how the expenses will be split. Without an agreement you could be headed back to court with each disagreement.
Address special issues
There are some issues that easily spark heated fights. Deal with them proactively. These include tax exemptions, relocations and the payment of out of pocket costs.