Navigating through a divorce when you have children can be an incredibly stressful and emotional experience. Figuring out the details of a child custody plan that works for everyone isn’t easy, and you’re worried about your children’s comfort, safety and growth.

Creating an effective parenting plan is crucial to providing your children with a strong foundation that allows them to excel. A parenting plan explains each parent’s roles regarding custody as well as other relevant information such as financial issues, medical information, and communication procedures.

As you build your plan, consider the following tips to make the process a little easier:

  • Don’t talk badly about your ex. Badmouthing your ex – especially in front of your children – only puts your kids in the middle of your divorce. Keep your kids away from arguments so they don’t have to choose sides.
  • Communicate civilly with your ex. The best way to get through creating a parenting plan is to communicate openly with your ex. As the other parent will continue to be in your child’s life, you must allow yourself to stay calm and respectful. No matter how you feel about your ex, if you have a civil line of communication, you can stay on top of your children’s problems and provide them with a better home environment.
  • Respect your children’s wishes. If your children are old enough to understand what’s going on, you should discuss with them what they want. Young children might not be able to express their feelings, but grade-schoolers or teenagers will likely have some opinions. It’s essential that your children feel apart of the decision-making process to ensure their comfort and help the transition after divorce flow more smoothly.
  • Create a schedule. One of the critical parts of a parenting plan is to layout each parent’s time with their children. If you have joint custody, you might split schedules by weekdays and weekends. If one parent has physical custody and the other has visitation, you should outline when the visiting parent plans to see the kids. Make sure to add in holidays and extended vacations such as spring and summer breaks. A good schedule offers your children structure during this difficult time.
  • Be willing to adapt. Remember that things won’t always go how you expect. Be flexible when creating your schedules and plans and be understanding to your children and your ex.

Building an efficient parenting plan will take some time, but it’s an important step to provide your children with a comfortable life after divorce. By considering these tips, you can make the process a little smoother and hopefully create a healthy environment that will let your children thrive every day.