Parenting after a divorce can be a challenging task for former spouses to handle in a successful and productive manner. Despite any personal issue between the two of you, the most important part of your shared lives is your children. Even for divorced couples without major tensions, co-parenting can present a set of unique challenges.
Balancing schedules, maintaining communication and remaining cooperative are all important elements of co-parenting after a divorce. Consider some of the resources and advise for former spouses as you navigate the new parenting dynamics and determine what works best for the entire family.
Creating a parenting plan
No parents, married or not, can plan for every possible occurrence in a child's life. There are too many unknowns to completely prepare for, but there are many important factors for which you can devise a comprehensive parenting plan. Not only do parenting plans help both former spouses stick to expectations, but they also help the courts determine the best interests of the child and whether the plan sufficiently meets those interests.
Parenting plans in Alaska usually include at least two essential components: a parenting schedule and a plan for decision making. The schedule devises a plan for every day of the week, who handles school pick up and drop off, plans for scheduled visits and details for transferring children between parents. The most important aspect of any parenting plan is meeting the best interests of the child.
A plan for decision making involves determining who can make important decisions for the child while they are underage. Some plans involve both parents as equal deciders and others designate one parent. Again, the child's best interests factor heavily into this plan. Parents can devise an initial plan, but it must pass muster of a judge.
Sticking to the plan
Once a plan is in place, it's up to the parents to follow the pre-determined expectations. Doing so may sound as easy as following a schedule, but it often gets much more complicated. To avoid some of the common issues with following parenting plans, consider some useful tools.
Co-parenting struggles? There's an app for that, too. Technology makes it easier than ever to manage shared parenting responsibilities in a comprehensive, all-inclusive format. Tools such as Our Family Wizard, 2Houses and even just a shared calendar app can simplify the co-parenting dynamic.
Apps designed for co-parenting often include resources such as a shared calendar, expense reports, shopping lists, reminders, journals and an in-app messaging system. These tools can ensure both parents have all the necessary information available at all times and help lessen tense dynamics through streamlined, focused communication.
Every co-parenting dynamic is unique, so it's just about finding what works best for your family and meets the best interests of the child. Creating and following a custody arrangement can present challenges for parents, but it's important for the success and wellbeing of the child. Utilize resources from family counselors and attorneys to parenting plans and websites to ensure the custody arrangement best fits your family's needs.