10 Tips for Divorcing Parents
Divorce is hard on the couple, their children, and their family and friends. However, there are several things you can do to make the process go as smoothly as possible for your children. Living in two homes with happy, separated parents is better for children than living in one house filled with fighting and anger.
How Divorcing Parents Should Navigate Co-Parenting and Custody
Although divorce negotiations include many factors, the two most important factors for divorcing parents are working out a co-parenting plan and determining custody.
Follow these ten tips to help your children adjust to a new normal.
1. Create a Parenting Plan
In New Jersey, the courts use the term parenting plan to describe a visitation schedule. These are an essential aspect of co-parenting as they determine when and for how long you will see your children, including a plan for holidays and visiting grandparents. They also often affect child support. You’ll want to work with a lawyer to ensure that your parenting plan follows New Jersey requirements.
2. Consider Mediation
Divorce often involves intense feelings, especially if one spouse feels betrayed. Mediation can help divorcing parents to cordially discuss challenging issues and eventually come to an agreement.
3. Choose the Best Custody Plan for the Children
Many divorced parents fight for full custody of their children because they can’t bear to be away from them. However, studies have found that joint custody is best for children’s mental health, barring abuse, or negligence.
4. Communicate Well
Although you may hate your soon-to-be ex with a passion, you must maintain a clear, calm line of communication. You will need to talk about any issues your children face, whether medical or social. The more cordial you can be, the easier it will be to co-parent in the future.
5. Don’t Argue In Front of the Kids
You and your ex will not always see eye to eye, and that will inevitably cause arguments. Disagreeing in front of your kids is fine, as long as you can both keep your temper and refrain from insults. However, if your disagreements often become loud, it’s best to keep them private. You also should only discuss custody disagreements away from the children since they could cause them discomfort.
6. Consistency is Key
When co-parenting, you’ll need to check in with your ex about discipline and rules. It’s best that you both agree on a bedtime, use similar disciplinary measures, and have similar rules. While this isn’t always possible, try to work together so your kids have a sense of consistency.
7. Be Willing to Compromise
You both want what’s best for your children, and sometimes that may mean compromising your wants. Always put your children’s needs first, whether that means agreeing to an inconvenient custody schedule or upping your child support.
8. Let Your Kids Know This Isn’t Their Fault
Many children of divorce believe they caused their parents’ separation. Make it clear to them that you love them and they did not cause the divorce. You may want to consider family or individual therapy to help your children through this significant change.
9. Don’t Disparage Your Ex to Your Kids
Courts don’t appreciate parental alienation, which is when a parent puts down their ex to their children. If proven, it could negatively affect your custody.
10. Work with an Experienced Lawyer
At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we have extensive experience helping divorcing parents in New Jersey create parenting plans, custody schedules, and determining child support. Contact us online or call us today at (908) 575-9777 to arrange a free consultation.