Preparing a Co-Parenting Plan That Will Reduce Tension After Divorce

Posted on: 21 January 2020

Divorce is often a complicated process, and caring for children from your marriage makes it even more complicated. One of the first things you'll have to do as part of the divorce is preparing a co-parenting plan. Ideally, both parents should be involved in raising children from the marriage. But agreeing on such a plan isn't as easy as it sounds.

There are many different elements that go into co-parenting. You'll have to determine a custody plan, how the needs of the children will be met and how much time each parent will spend with the kids. Typically, parents can work out this agreement through mediation.

Here are a few tips that can help former spouses prepare a co-parenting plan that eases tension.  

1. Determine who the main custodian is

The guiding principle of any co-parenting plan is determining who has the final say over decisions regarding children from the marriage. The ideal scenario is both parents having joint custody. This means that both parents have a 50% say in responsibilities and decisions regarding the children. When negotiating a parenting plan under joint custody, both parents should receive evenly split time with the children and have an equitable share in responsibilities. Making such an agreement work will require lots of empathy, patience and guidance from a family lawyer.

In other types of custody (such as sole or legal custody), a parenting plan may function differently. For example, a parent with sole custody has the final say over decisions involving the children, although their former spouse may have some input regarding such decisions.

2. Work out the little details

You'd be surprised by just how many parenting plans crumble due to minor details. For example, who should pick up and drop off the kids at school? And when it's your turn to spend time with the kids, do you have to pick them up from your ex's home, or do should they bring the kids over? These minor details can result in frequent tension and arguments. Make sure that your co-parenting plan is realistic and practical enough to cover such situations.

3. Determine how conflicts/alterations will be resolved

As detailed as a parenting plan might be, it may not cover all possible scenarios in real life. There will come a time when the agreement will need to be altered so that either spouse can continue to fulfil their parenting responsibilities. If the parenting plan was negotiated without the involvement of a judge, you can agree on changes through mediation. Small alterations outside court are also possible under court-directed plans. However, any significant alterations should only be done under the supervision of a family lawyer and/or the court.