Divorcing is challenging and time consuming and often times the parenting plan is left to “happen what may”, not by lack of genuine concern, but because it seems this at least should be ok. Divorcing parents think “we’ll do what’s best” without always realizing that the situation puts a different meaning on “best” than normal. You know that you have to brace yourself for very difficult times and your feelings and emotions won’t be spared. As a parent, it’s your job, your responsibility, to protect your children, their emotional health and their feelings all the while planning for their future.

The emotional aspects of a parenting plan

Children have the tendency to blame themselves for a divorce. They feel guilty for their parents separating and they feel rejected, unloved and unworthy of love. If not addressed these feelings can prove destructive of their emotional balance, the way they perceive life and the way they will behave in their relationships.

How can you go through this sensitive phase?

  • See a child psychologist or a family therapist
  • Educate yourself and your family
  • Come to an agreement with your soon to be ex that the children are off limit; in other words,

the kids must not be used to hurt each other or gain anything from each other.

No matter how volatile the “war” between the two of you is, you are adults who can make their own voices heard, stand behind their decisions and handle themselves, but the children are not wired nor equipped to deal with these events.

The financial factors of an effective parenting plan

In many divorces, one is always trying to up the other, obtain more than they should ask for just because resentment is guiding them. Again, the children are not pawns, their future must be planned not jeopardized so the financial aspect here is about them. There will be many changes: who gets custody, the visitation rights, splitting vacations, possibly changing school and neighborhood all of which are big challenges to a child (even a young adult).

How can you plan your children’s financial future?

  • Consult with a certified divorce financial advisor
  • Make a full inventory of all assets both individual and common
  • Establish a budget: income and expenses will play a major role in what is needed

In all practicality

Remember you used to be in love; you got married and decided to have kids. And now you are still a team, a team of parents who will always be in each other’s lives because of the kids.
Chances are a judge will award custody to one of you or shared custody; regardless, there are week-ends and vacations to consider, a whole lot of them for many years to come along with family celebrations, the holidays. All of this implies a lot of planning and a lot of good will and patience.

How can you work things out?

  • Keep a positive attitude and have your children’s well being as the ultimate goal
  • Establish a calendar for the full year
  • Be ready for emergencies and last minute change of plan

An effective parenting plan means a plan for the future, both emotionally and financially. The future starts now and it involves remembering that your children come first: their well being, their education, their comfort, their life.

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