Losing time with one’s children is the most painful part of a divorce. It is easy to lose sight of what is in the best interests of your children because you want to save as much time with them as possible. However, you will need to learn how to co-parent peacefully with your ex-spouse, and there are several steps you can take to make sure that your children’s needs are being met.
First, think about your children’s schedules. What extracurricular activities do they participate in? Do they have tutoring on certain days? Do they have part-time jobs? How long do they get off from school in the summers? Think about how you and your ex-spouse can share time in a way that will not significantly interfere with your children’s personal schedules.
Children need consistency in their lives, so the more you and your spouse are able to coordinate schedules, the better your children will fare. For example, bedtimes should be similar at each residence. Each parent should enforce the completion of homework and studying. Your schedules do not have to be identical, but it is important that they are similar. Rules need to be consistent between houses.
Finally, parents must be realistic when they are creating a parenting plan for their children. Does it make sense to have a midweek visit begin at 4:00 if you do not get off of work until 6? Probably not. Remember that agreeing to let your ex-spouse have extra time with your children will not mean your kids will love you any less.