When a family goes through the divorce process, an emphasis is often placed on how the children will react or respond to the ‘news.’ Anyone having gone through a divorce with children can surely relate. The truth is all children respond differently and there is no one single approach for every child. In my experience, both professionally and personally, the divorce process is challenging for all parties involved, including the children, which is why it becomes paramount for parents to keep their children’s best interest in mind throughout the entire proceeding. I often counsel my clients to put their best foot forward when working with their spouse or co-parent in developing a parenting schedule. It is important that spouses and co-parents find an approach that works for their situation as it relates to time-sharing and child custody. Seem counterproductive? After all – we are going through a divorce, now I’m being told that I need to collaborate with my spouse? Well, maybe. That can often the best approach – for the children.
Emotions will be running high. The creation of a parenting schedule can and will likely add additional stress to the situation. Depending on how the living arrangements are handled between the parents, it can be a difficult transition from seeing the children every day to a less consistent basis. A collaborative approach in developing a co-parenting plan is often the best way to put the children first. After all, it’s the parents that know their children best, right? With this said, working together to develop a parenting plan during a divorce can alleviate some stress for the parents, while also helping the children adjust to their new normal. The idea is to agree on a parenting plan that is practical and one that allows each parent to have a meaningful role in the children’s lives.
As a father, I know how important consistency is for my kids. Divorce can create a level of inconsistency in terms of when each parent spends time with the children and who takes on certain responsibilities (i.e. taking the kids to school). However, being able to provide a new consistency for the children can be accomplished through a temporary and eventual permanent parenting plan. It will be new for the kids. It will take time. But, a new normal will eventually be created. It did for me in my early years when my parents divorced and it does for many of the families I help through their divorces. Contrary to popular belief, creating this new consistency can be a collaborative approach between mom and dad. I’ve seen it. Having an open dialogue about what each parent wants may be difficult, but not impossible.
If you find yourself needing legal advice relating to a divorce proceeding, please email or call The Law Office of Mark King, PLLC.