Seven Steps to Creating a Parenting Agreement that Focuses on Your Kids Needs

Seven Steps to Creating a Parenting Agreement that Focuses on Your Kids Needs

Seven Steps to Creating a Parenting Agreement that Focuses on Your Kids Needs

Have you recently divorced the father or mother of your children?  Are you wondering how to proceed with the kids' arrangements?  When you have recently gone through a divorce with children, you will want to keep their needs in mind the most as you move into the new normal for your life.  Remind yourself that they, too, have undergone a large and drastic lifestyle change.  As a family law practice in Orlando, we work with many clients to draft a parenting agreement that works for the entire family.  There are a few steps you want to follow in order to create a parenting agreement that truly meet your kids' needs and interests.

Establish a Schedule that Works

When you live in separate houses, this can complicate your kids' lives.  What school will they go to?  Who will drive them to their extracurricular activities?  Where do their friends live?  All of these considerations are important when you are establishing a schedule that works for both you and your kids.  As you work on your parenting agreement with your family law practice in Orlando, you will want come up with a schedule that works for everyone without changing your kids' lives too drastically.  If you uproot them from their school, friends, and sports, they may become more bitter and angry with you.  Be sure to make a schedule that keeps the kids' needs in mind.

Stay Consistent

As your children navigate their new normal after their parents split, they will likely crave routine and consistency in their lives.  This is up to you and your ex to establish for them.  Create a parenting plan that stays consistent so that the kids can understand and adjust to their new schedule.  This will provide them with the peace they need to move forward and accept their new situation.  When you stay consistent with your behaviors and follow through with your word, your kids will start to rebuild their trust in you.  This will start to mend the rift that a divorce may have created in your relationships with your children.

Talk about Finances

When you are splitting time with your ex, you will want to talk about the financial aspect of your parenting agreement.  Some arrangements have a child custody clause that provides financial compensation to the parent that will be with the kids the most.  Others have an agreement that the present parent will take care of the children's expenses.  The financial plans involved in parenting agreements may be the most difficult to pinpoint, but it is important to work through these aspects in the presence of an experienced family law practice in Orlando to avoid making a big mistake.  

Prioritize Your Kids

Even though it may seem difficult to give your children to your spouse because they have friends in that neighborhood or because your ex is their little league coach, you will want to put their needs above yours.  Be sure to put their needs first so that you can make the right decisions to make them happy.  If this means giving your ex for an activity that you still want to be a part of, you can find a way to compromise so that you can still be a part of it.  If your children are old enough, consider involving them in the conversation so they can speak their needs and wants as well.

Avoid Conflict

Anytime you are going through divorce with children, you will want to avoid conflict as best as possible.  If you and your ex need to fight, find the time and space to do so without involving your children.  Try to resolve your discussions or arguments peacefully so that you can instead focus on what the children need and deserve from you as a parent.  When you are spending time with your children without your ex, you should also avoid talking negatively about them in front of your kids.   This bitterness can affect the way they also view the other parent.

Talk to Your Children

Whenever you can, you should provide a safe space to talk about your divorce and the life changes that you are going through as a family.  By opening up the conversation, you show your children that you understand that their lives have also dramatically changed by all the recent changes.  Without involving your kids in the conversation, you may neglect their emotional needs throughout this difficult time.  This could end up impacting how they feel about either you or your ex as you move forward with your lives.  Be sure to make your kids an integral part of the process.

Create a Communication Plan

Even though you will be parenting your children separately, you will still want to know what's going on when your children are with your ex.  Come up with a communication plan that works for your lifestyle, needs, and situation.  Some parents are comfortable enough with casual text messaging, while others may require a more formal type of communication.  Discuss this with both your ex and your lawyer in your family law practice in Orlando so that you can choose what is customary for your situation.  By having access to your kids even when you aren't around them, you will feel much more comfortable with any arrangements, especially in the beginning as you are adjusting to the new normal.

These are a few of the ways that you can make sure that the parenting agreement that you create is truly meeting the needs of your children.  When you forget to consider their needs and talk to them about what they want, you will struggle to retain their trust as you transition into the new chapter of your lives together.  Consulting with a professional and expert family law practice in Orlando can help guide you through the process.  Contact us to start drafting your parenting agreement today.

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