Divorce is an emotional process. As parents begin to develop a parenting plan, the need for flexibility and responsibility are important in creating options that consider the child first.
An effective parenting plan maximizes the child’s emotional security. It also needs to work well for both the child and the parents, and develop as the child grows up.
While many people are interested to know what constitutes as an effective parenting plan, the answer will vary depending on the parents. The process of getting to the agreement can be effective if approached in a positive, cooperative way. Parents should approach the parenting agreement as parents rather than as parties to a divorce/separation action.
It may seem easier said than done to create an effective yet flexible parenting agreement, especially in the midst of the divorce process. Appropriate professionals may be able to offer options that have not yet been considered while facilitating a discussion about each option’s practicality.
Working with a mediator is another option where parents make their own decisions, rather than have a third party make binding decisions about their family.
Here are five questions for parents to consider when developing a parenting plan:
- How will the plan work for this child?
- Does the plan maximize this child’s emotional security?
- Does the plan maximize stable care-giving?
- Is the plan stage age appropriate?
- Is the plan practical (times, locations, travel, exchange, venues)?