One of the trickiest aspects of navigating a divorce is when children are part of the mix. In these cases, many parents opt to create a thorough parenting plan with the help of a legal representative. The problem, though, is that parents don’t always — and can’t always — follow the plan to a “T.” This can leave room for negative feelings on the parts of everyone involved, especially when one parent feels as though he or she is being left out. A better way to manage any custody arrangement is for Florida divorcing couples to agree to consistency in handling all areas of the parenting plan, including when the parenting plan needs to be transiently modified.
Take the holidays, for instance, when children of divorce often find themselves facing as many obligations as their parents. There are pageants to attend, recitals in which to perform and a host of other responsibilities. If one of the child’s parents cannot realistically make certain the child can get to a school function, after-school program, party or appointment, the other parent may need to do so. The key is to balance the yin-yang nature of the parenting plan so that the child’s needs are met and both parents feel that they have distributed the parenting equally.
In terms of Florida moms and dads who are new to divorce, this might take some serious negotiating. Yet, if they have been well-represented and counseled beforehand, they may be less likely to fall victim to creating an imbalance between their parenting plan arrangements. Instead, they will be able to make temporary adjustments and then return to a consistent schedule. Their children will fare better because they will realize that their needs are being placed above rules that can be occasionally lessened.
It’s no secret that children thrive on consistency. Parents do, too. Thus, the parenting plan should be seen as not just a way for the kids to negotiate the realities of divorce, but for the mothers and fathers to do so as well.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Starting New Holiday Traditions After a Divorce“, Dr. Gail Gross, Nov. 26, 2014