When children are involved in a divorce, you know that even though you have divorced your spouse that your contact and interaction with that now ex-spouse is going to continue until your child or children are adults.
This means you may have opportunities for conflict every time you interact. This is less than ideal, as reducing conflict was probably one of the reasons you divorced in the first place. For your children’s sake, you want to minimize the chances for conflict and allow them to adapt to the new normal they must experience.
A clear and easy to understand custody arrangement as part of your parenting plan is essential. Some people may believe that having vague and general statements that allow great flexibility would help minimize conflict. But that tends not to be how people react in these situations.
Too much choice and flexibility permit too much interpretation and that can lead to conflict. By setting expectations in the parenting plan that is in place before the divorce is even finalized can help everyone adjust.
It also can bring some certainty to your children’s perspective. Their entire world has been turned upside down and uncertainty and worries about the future weigh heavily on their minds. Creating a solid parenting plan that shows them exactly where and when they will be spending their time can return to them some sense of stability, which is very important considering their experience.
A well-constructed plan will also potentially reduce conflict with their other parent, as hand-offs and other elements of the relationship governed by the agreement become routine and “normal.”
Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Survive Parenting After Divorce: Don’t Make These 5 Common Mistakes!” Natasha Daniels, December 15, 2015