In the whirlwind of events both before and after divorce, it’s important to keep your children in mind at all times. Even if your marital problems were severe, your former spouse is still a parent to your kids, and should be treated with respect. More importantly, your children need to feel secure and loved by both of you, even in the midst of court dates and disputes. That means coming up with a suitable co-parenting plan. No two families will have the same needs, but there are some things which should be kept in mind for everyone when determining parenting agreements.

–       Remember that your divorce is about YOU. It’s not about the kids. Keep them out of whatever disputes you have going on. They are much too young, no matter how mature they seem, to be dealing with grown up problems.

–       Keep the kids’ schedules as close to normal as possible. If it’s possible to let them remain in the house they’re used to, do it. At least until things settle down. 

–       Consider the needs of your children when determining a parenting arrangement. If one child is especially close to you or your ex, it’s not fair to keep him or her away during most days of the month. Even if it means extra work, ensure that all children are given ample contact with both parents.

–       Ask your kids what they think. Take their opinions into consideration when coming up with living arrangements. It might not be possible to use all of their suggestions, but at least they will feel heard.

–       Keep parenting decisions and marital problems separate. When you are together as a family doing family things, your former marriage is no longer an issue. Make it about the kids, and save arguments or other discussions for another time.

–       Make changes to arrangements when needed. AS your children grow, they may need more time with one parent over another. Consider changing the parenting plan when this occurs.

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