Getting a divorce does not mean that you must now stop being a good, responsible parent. You can still care for your children, and help them grow into confident, mature adults. The best way to do this is with a clearly defined parenting plan. A parenting plan outlines regular visitation times for you, your children, and your ex. In doing so, the plan takes the mystery out of when you see your child, provides a minimum schedule of time with the children, and in turn provides you an additional tool to help you to b the best parent possible.
Naturally, such a schedule must take any court orders into account. Remember, though, that it is best left up to the parents to create a schedule that provides the best parenting plan possible for the unique circumstances of the children. For example, if you and your ex share joint custody and want to spend approximately equal time with your children, you can draft a schedule accordingly. Your children might stay with you for half of the week during the school year or every other week. Because you would have significant involvement with your children according to this plan, you would maintain a good opportunity to pro-actively guide your children’s development.
If, on the other hand, you have sole custody of your children, your ex would not see them as often. Your ex could arrange to visit with the children, for example on holidays or occasional weekends. According to this schedule, you would have a much larger influence on your children’s day-to-day lives. It is important to facilitate visitation between your ex and your children, however, limited that time maybe, if that contact is in their best interests (which it typically is in the absence of some danger or articulable detriment to the children).
Whatever custody schedule you and your ex-spouse choose, a clear parenting plan will help you both co-parent effectively, and that will allow your children to benefit from the stability and reduced conflict the plan encourages.