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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

A parenting plan can make or break your co-parenting relationship

Raising children is a challenge for any parent. Making sacrifices for them becomes second nature, and that's when things are going well in the relationship between the parents. When the marital relationship ends, the challenges tend to increase.

Perhaps you are like many other Texas parents who want to continue to raise their children in a loving and supportive atmosphere after the divorce. To do that, you will need to find a way to work with your future former spouse.

Where the parenting plan comes in

During the course of your divorce, you may want to create your own parenting plan instead of allowing the court to make the decisions for you. How you structure that plan could make or break your future as co-parents. To get the most out of your plan, you may want to consider the following provisions that go beyond scheduling time with the kids:

  • Flexibility could make the lives of everyone involved easier. While it's true that each parent should adhere to the schedule as much as possible, sometimes it just isn't possible.
  • If either parent needs to change the schedule, he or she should talk about it as soon as possible in order to make the necessary adjustments.
  • Each of you deserves to live your post-divorce life in an independent manner as long as it doesn't harm the children. Setting clear boundaries between the two of you is essential to minimizing conflict.
  • Each of you should receive the right of first refusal when the other needs a babysitter. This allows the other parent some additional time with the children.
  • Reach agreements regarding the basics of the children's daily lives, such as discipline, meal times and bedtime rituals, among other things.
  • Reach agreements regarding other decisions such as schooling, religion and extracurricular activities.
  • Agree to keep any confrontations out of the sight of the children.
  • Determine a system for resolving disputes.
  • Agree to attend school-related events or other important functions involving the children.

Redefining your relationship

Adding these types of provisions to your parenting plan can help you define how your parental relationship will work after the divorce. It may seem odd to write down how you will raise your children since most married couples probably don't, but your situation makes it necessary so you can continue working together for the benefit of your kids.

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