If you have young children at the time of a divorce, it’s possible you may be interacting with your ex for years to come. Generally speaking, as long as it’s in a child’s best interests, courts favour parenting plans that allow a child to develop a meaningful relationship with both parents.
However, adults sometimes have residual feelings about their divorce or separation, and that may affect how they communicate with each other. If a child senses a toxic relationship between his or her parents, it’s possible that toxic relationship can also have an impact on the child.
For many divorced parents, it’s important that a clear parenting plan is in place. A parenting plan can outline a schedule and the responsibilities for each parent as they raise their child between two households.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that not every decision or challenge will be accounted for at the time the agreement is drafted. For example, when the child gets older, will they have two of everything, such as two bikes, two video game consoles or two birthdays? How will parents monitor how much time is spent hanging out with friends between households? What if the parents disagree about sending a child away on a school trip?
These decisions are challenging for all parents, whether they are divorced or not. It’s important to understand that its okay not to have the answers now. But it’s crucial for your relationship with the other parent to have a plan in place to communicate with each other about how to tackle these types of decisions as children grow. Will you each make sure you report any concerns to each other, offer advice to each other, or set-up meetings to deal with more serious situations like failing grades or hanging out with dangerous crowds?
Another big issue could be if the one parent remarries. Will the new step-parent impact how the parenting arrangement works?
If you have questions about how to structure a parenting plan, or how to communicate with the other parent when the need arises, it’s best advised to consult with an experienced family lawyer. He or she will be able to help you identify solutions that suit your specific family dynamic.