Our Austin divorce lawyers know divorce is unfortunately very common in the United States, and some of the most affected are the children of divorcing parents. While a divorce can be a tumultuous and confusing time for children, parents can make the process easier and more constructive for everyone involved by developing an effective parenting plan. Custody can lead to heated discussions, but, ultimately, the courts have an obligation to rule in the best interests of the children. If the parents acknowledge this and put aside their personal preferences, they can make the divorce process and subsequent custody arrangements more bearable for everyone with a few best practices.
Work With the Custody Ruling
Once the court determines custody in the best interests of the children, the parents will have a solid baseline for developing a parenting plan. A custody arrangement will include where the children will live, visitation times, and other schedule-related clauses so the parents know who is responsible for the children and when. Divorce is easier for children if it entails minimal disruption to their daily routine, so parents should keep this in mind when it comes to switching custody times, visitation, school pickup and drop-off, and other elements of daily life.
The initial physical adjustment of living in one home to switching between two is very trying for everyone involved, so there will certainly be an adjustment period following the initial move. During this time, routine and communication are very important, and the parents need to work together to help the children adjust to their new lifestyle. This process will be different for every family, but any family will benefit if the parents put aside their personal feelings concerning each other for the sake of the children.
Parenting Plans Are Legally Binding
It’s also important for the parents to abide by the stipulations of the custody arrangement and notify the other parent of emergencies or sudden schedule changes. Violating a custody arrangement or keeping the other parent out of the loop when it comes to the children’s issues is neither constructive nor wise as it could give the other parent justification for limiting your own custody rights. It can also damage the relationship between the violating parent and the children. Abiding by the custody ruling is one of the best ways to build a solid parenting plan.
Violating a parenting plan may also come with legal penalties in some cases. A parent who disregards the parenting plan or deviates from it without a good reason may face financial penalties and a loss of custody or parental rights. This is especially important for parents who receive conditional custody or who have criminal records.
Put Personal Feelings for Exes Aside
Divorce can bring out strong emotions and turn ugly very quickly in some cases, and some parents, unfortunately, attempt to weaponize child custody. Although there may be quite a lot of bad blood between you and your ex, keeping your communication focused on the best interests of your children will help everyone adapt to a parenting plan. You may disagree with some elements of a parenting plan, but it is always possible to make adjustments at a later time, and showing a strong record of compliance and agreeableness can go a long way. When divorcing parents bicker and argue, especially in front of their children, it makes divorce more difficult for everyone involved.
A good parenting plan requires both parents to do their best and always keep their kids’ best interests at heart. It will also include provisions for what happens if either parent violates the plan. The parents will adjust to the new lifestyle and the children will experience as little disruption as possible if the parents agree to put their personal issues aside when it comes to the children’s needs.