One of the most important and difficult parts of divorcing with children is trying to find a way to share custody with your ex. Creating a parenting plan is a common practice in North Dakota divorces with minor children. Your parenting plan outlines parental responsibilities and rights and can guide you and your ex while you navigate the sometimes difficult experience of sharing custody after a divorce.
Obviously, a parenting plan will touch on how you split up custody or parenting time. There are many ways to approach this process, but asking the right questions and maintaining the right attitude can go a long way toward drafting a plan that works for your family.
Be specific enough for your current needs and broad enough for your future ones
One of the more difficult aspects of creating a viable parenting plan is how quickly family circumstances change as children get older. When your kids hit a certain age, they may start sports and other extracurricular activities that drastically impact how much time they have to spend with their parents. Older kids will also have different emotional and social needs that might mean they’d rather be out with friends in the evening than having time with their non-custodial parent.
Creating a parenting plan that breaks down roughly how you intend to split custody in general and then gives more detail for your current situation is a good approach. That way, you have specific instructions while you are first adjusting to shared custody and can then interpret the broader rules as things go on.
Address the needs of the parents as well
Shared custody isn’t just hard for the kids. It’s also hard for you and your ex. Having some details in your parenting plan that talk about conflict resolution, the standardization of rules between households and communication between co-parents can go a long way toward helping you and your ex keep things amicable.
For example, you might agree to keep your communication in written format for at least the first year so that neither of you call the other with the intention of starting an argument and there’s also a verifiable paper trail for all discussions that you have.
Getting help with the plan, its enforcement and any changes you need to make to it during and after the divorce can help make shared custody a smoother experience for everyone involved.