Whether you and your spouse have one child or several, you’ve no doubt encountered challenges as parents when you disagree about a specific child-related issue. For instance, perhaps your teenage son or daughter wanted to attend an overnight party at a friend’s house in Wisconsin. You didn’t think it was a good idea, but your spouse wanted to give permission.
Disagreements between parents are not uncommon. However, if you’ve recently filed for divorce, then a disagreement about child custody or your co-parenting plan may spark legal problems. If you and your spouse are able to work as a team to develop a co-parenting agreement, you may be able to keep the peace and help your children cope with divorce with as little stress as possible.
Issues to incorporate into your co-parenting agreement
You might think it seems tedious to write out details in a co-parenting plan about household rules or extracurricular activities and other basic, child-related topics. The more detailed your plan is, the less likely it is that you and your ex will encounter child custody problems after you settle your divorce. The following list includes five tips for creating a solid co-parenting agreement:
- Write out each parent’s responsibilities, including financial matters, driving kids places and more.
- Create a plan for unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.
- Include terms of agreement for introducing new partners to your children.
- Incorporate matters of importance regarding education, religion and health care.
- Schedule holiday plans and special events, such as school plays or sports.
The latter is particularly helpful if the relationship between you and your ex is contentious. Writing out terms for where your kids will spend a holiday or which parent will attend a sporting event reduces the chances of bumping into each other in person and sparking a confrontation.
A strong support network can help families cope with divorce
Studies show that children who are constantly exposed to parental conflict in a divorce do not tend to fare as well as kids whose parents are able to cooperate and compromise for their sake. This might be easier said than done, however, especially if you’re 100% willing to work as a team but your ex isn’t.
If he or she disregards a court order, for instance, or tries to drive a wedge between you and your children, it may not only make life stressful for you and your kids, but it can lead to legal problems as well. Building a strong support network can help keep post-divorce stress to a minimum.