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Make a flexible parenting plan that can adapt to your kids

When drafting a parenting plan and child custody agreement, you want to make sure you get time with your children. However, experts warn that you shouldn't make this all about you and your time. It should focus on the kids first -- not your own desires.

Recognize that the kids have other things going on in their lives that are very important to them. These things help them develop and grow up. Create a flexible plan that can work for your kids and still allow you and your ex to have share time with them.

For example, you may be frustrated because you only see your son every other weekend. He's on the football team and, when the season starts, you lose big chunks of your weekends with him.

You may be annoyed because you live closer to your daughter's friends than your ex does. When your daughter is at your ex's house, she just spends time with him or her. When she's at your house, she always wants to go off and hang out with her friends.

Parents who have the child's best interests in mind will work with each other to set up a plan that still allows the child to participate in activities, teams, clubs and peer groups. They'll be able to create a flexible plan that gives the child freedom and protects quality time for both of them.

This mindset can be hard, especially if you feel like you and your ex are always at odds. Remember that the priority is providing an optimal upbringing for your child. Nothing more and nothing less. Be sure you understand the legal options you have to make that happen.

Source: Today, "Create a successful parenting plan for children after divorce," Elizabeth Thayer and Jeffrey Zimmerman, accessed Oct. 03, 2017

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