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Addressing conflict resolution in your parenting plan

One of the many concerns newly divorced parents have is how the co-parenting relationship will go. Regardless of each of your good intentions, the parents will more than likely end up disagreeing about something periodically.

How you and the other parent handle these conflicts could have lasting effects on your co-parenting relationship. If this is a concern of yours, it may help to address conflict resolution in your parenting plan.

The types of conflicts to account for

As you negotiate the terms of your parenting plan, you may want to consider the following common conflicts plagued by some co-parents:

  • The party paying child support needs to acknowledge that the payments are for the children, and he or she needs to recognize that the financial obligation to the children does not end with divorce.
  • Neither of you should feel micromanaged or bullied by the other parent. Your parenting plan could include an acknowledgment of each parent's love, support and ability as a parent.
  • If one parent spoils the children, that makes the other one the "bad guy," and that just isn't fair. Of course, each parent is free to give the children gifts, let them stay up a little later and more, but you could agree to make these things the exception and not the rule.
  • In order to avoid disagreements about discipline, you could sit and discuss it at length as you create your parenting plan. Agree on how you will do so in order to maintain consistency between households.
  • The same could be said about issues such as homework, playtime, meals and bedtime routines. The more consistent these things are between households, the better off the children will fare.

Once you identify issues you believe could lead to conflict, devise a way to resolve them that works best for you and the other parent. The more you can agree on, the less potential for conflict. Doing so could help keep everything running smoothly in both homes. This could help your children transition into their new lives and help you find a comfortable equilibrium with the other parent.

Each of you has the right to spend your time with the children as you see fit, but when two households are virtual opposites, the children suffer the most. Not only does it confuse and frustrate them, but it causes conflict between the two of you as well. Your children need to know that you can put aside your feelings for each and any disagreement for them. The more prepared you are for the worst, the more you can enjoy better times.

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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