10 Feb 5 Things to Avoid when Creating a Child Custody Plan
When you said ‘I do’, you never expected to say, “Who gets the kids?” The possibility of marriages transitioning into divorce is a real one as the length of marriages has decreased dramatically in only the past 15 years. Many couples have tried to avoid marriage for this very reason but still found themselves in a similar situation as, “more than one-half of all births happened outside of marriage” among women under 30, according to Slate. Either way, no matter which type of relationship you choose to partake in, both situations can lead to the same result: creating a child custody plan. We’ve all heard horror stories and possibly experienced them first-hand, about child custody battles starring bitter co-parents and children caught up in the middle. Fortunately for the rest of us, their mistakes can teach us a lesson about how not to go about splitting up your parental responsibilities. As much as you may despise your soon-to-be ex-husband or wife at the moment, you don’t have to let those feelings cloud your judgment in moving forward. Listed below you will find some classic mistakes that parents make when creating a child custody plan.
Avoid These 5 Mistakes when Creating a Child Custody Plan
Making decisions based solely on emotions
Let’s make this very clear: this process is not about you. At all. No matter what your ex-partner may have done to you to in the past, that probably has very little to do with their parenting skillset. Don’t allow your hurt feelings and bruised ego to blind your judgment and cause you to make drastic, unbudging decisions while developing your custody plan. Your co-parenting partner deserves the opportunity to be a parent to the child you both share no matter how you both feel about each other. Remember, you are taking the time to work with your ex to give your child the most opportune situation two parents can supply.
Disregarding your child’s opinion
A lot of parents make the mistake of overlooking the needs of their children by outlining how to raise their child based on what they believe their child needs. As they should, but what about taking the time to stop and ask your child how they feel about everything that’s going on and what they want out of it? You’d be surprised how much insight you can obtain when you simply just ask. Of course, as a parent, you’re not going to sit down and plan out every detail with your child’s approval. At the same time, you need to figure out how your child feels about how you plan on divvying up their time. Maybe your daughter wants to stay with her mother because she lives closer to school or their best friend’s house. Maybe your son simply likes to spend more time with his father. Be ready to take some emotional hits to your ego for your child’s sake!
Being uncompromising and inflexible
It is necessary for you to be open to change. In situations like these, there’s a greater chance you will end up with a plan that leaves you a bit uncomfortable than the ideal plan you set out with. Don’t be selfish and fight tooth and nail to get your way. Be willing to give a little up. Matter of fact, start viewing your custody plan as an ever-evolving blueprint to fit everyone’s lives as they change. If you know things are getting busy for your co-parent, don’t be stubborn and enforce your usual schedule. Offer to take the kids until things slow down. Does your co-parent finally have an extended vacation from work and wants to take the kids during your week? Let them. If you rub your co-parent’s back from time to time, it’s only a matter of time until they return the favor.
Making unrealistic commitments by overlooking details
Did you commit to picking up the kids after school when you know it’s not possible for you to allot enough time to beat the traffic en route? Did you say your children could stay with your co-parent even though they have to stay with you in order to attend the upcoming dance they’ve been planning on going to? Take the time to consider all factors. Don’t create a standard plan that doesn’t touch on all bases. Discuss schooling. Discuss punishment. Discuss which information is mandatory to communicate with your co-parent. Discuss everything that pertains to and affects your children. The more detailed you both are, the fewer chances there are for problems and conflicts to surface.
Not considering the needs of your co-parent
This may sound like the last thing you want to do at this point. I mean, let’s be honest, you two did decide to go your separate ways. Even so, in order to create the most ideal and harmonious situation for not only the children but for everyone involved, you must consider the needs of everyone. Be flexible. Think about your co-parent’s wants and needs in this situation as you would hope they would for you. Help each other be the best co-parent you can be. After all, your children will reap the benefits of your efforts.