Divorcing parents will have to work through numerous negotiations at every stage of the process. From financial affairs such as the division of assets and debt responsibility to physical elements such as the parenting plan, both parties must find a compromise that works for the parents as well as the children.
While every relationship is different, there are some common elements that divorcing parents should remember to factor into the parenting plan, such as:
- Decision making guidance: It would be impossible to cover every type of contingency that might come up as the child grows and matures, but there are certain things that are reasonably set in stone. Driving responsibility, for example, could be addressed in advance. At what age will the child begin taking classes? Will the classes be school-based or a private instructor?
- Preferred communication method: Some parents might fall into the trap of passing notes through the children rather than risking some type of argument between former spouses. In the parenting plan, the parents should agree not to do this, and decide what type of communication is best. A weekly email, for example, that highlights any punishments, rewards or general news might be the best way to discuss upcoming events. Or, simply, a quick text message any time something comes up could work for some parents. In any event, it is wise to discuss these things in advance.
- Address the holiday schedule: It is not uncommon for the parents to have different goals regarding holiday custody. From splitting time to a rotating schedule, there is no singular template for success. It is crucial, however, that the parents discuss these matters in advance of a heated debate later in the year. Additionally, it is wise to discuss options for alternative solutions if the weather turns bad or if the child is ill.
The divorcing couple will face numerous challenges through the process. From deciding on asset and debt division to drafting a comprehensive parenting plan, the parents will negotiate several compromises. It is wise to work with an experienced attorney who can provide the guidance and insight needed to proceed through the divorce from start to finish.