One of the hardest parts of any divorce in Pennsylvania that involves children will usually be agreeing on terms for custody with your ex. However, in recent years, the courts have moved away from the old primary custody and visitation model. Instead, because they want to do what is in the best interest of the children, the courts these days prefer shared custody arrangements.
You and your ex can play an ongoing role in the life of your children. You can create a parenting plan that guides you both as you adjust to a future working together as divorced co-parents. There are certain special concerns that you may want to give due consideration while creating a parenting plan.
How will kids want to spend their special days?
It is a common practice for parents to divvy up spending special time with the kids after a divorce. Alternating holidays is a common practice, where you have the kids every other holiday, meaning you might have them for Halloween and Christmas, while your ex gets them for Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Then, the next year, you would reverse that and have them for the other set of holidays. You can also extend that same planning scheme to sporting events, school outings and birthdays. Unfortunately, this kind of set-up may not be what your kid actually wants.
Many children would prefer to spend their special day with both of their parents. Do you and your ex think that you can set aside the animosity you have between you for the benefit of your children? If so, you might want to talk about sharing time together on those special days as a way to put the kids first.
Don’t forget to talk about problem-solving in your plan
No matter how pragmatic both you and your ex may be and how dedicated you are to a positive co-parenting relationship, conflict will inevitably arise. Whether you disagree about what video games are inappropriate for your child or when they can start dating, you will need to have a system in place to work through these disagreements and reach common ground.
You will only be successful as co-parents if you can present a unified front to the children that includes standard rules and expectations. You may not know right at this moment every issue that will arise later in your parenting journey together, so instead of trying to address each individual scenario now, put together a framework for working through disagreements and finding compromises.
Acknowledge any special needs that your children have in writing
If your children have any kind of special needs, ranging from autism to ADHD, they may require extra services or a more structured day than other children. Divorce should not lead to instability for these children.
Make a point of outlining any needs that your children have beyond the average child in your parenting plan so that you can ensure that they receive the care that they need from both you and your ex as your family moves forward after divorce.