One result of careful planning is fewer mistakes. The parenting plan enhances understanding between a child’s parents and encourages discussion. It is a baseline that you can use to document your understandings. It keeps you – not a stranger – in the position of making decisions about your child’s life.
Sometimes it is tempting to turn over difficult decisions to someone else, to somebody who is an “authority.” However, the overwhelming consensus of people who have experienced having someone else decide how to care for their child is that it is a recipe for disaster. No one else loves or understands your child like you do. A person who is a perfect stranger to you and your family will never be able to figure out things better than you can.
Feelings of anger and hurt can be overwhelming. These feelings are normal; however, when acted upon negatively they can be devastating to everyone, especially to a child. No one wants this. It is too painful. In time people resolve unhappy feelings, but during the transition period the possibility of making damaging choices is very real.
A parenting plan helps you stay focused on your child and his or her best interest, rather than on runaway feelings about the other parent.
This is a time in your life when it is usually better not to go the distance alone. You don’t have to figure out everything by yourself; there are excellent advisors who can assist you. You may need the services of a counselor, mediator, lawyer, evaluator or judge in order to help you and the other parent make informed decisions in working out a solid parenting plan.
I remember the beginning of my divorce. Once we realized it was over, we agreed on our parenting schedule. We also talked about our game plan with the children. We both agreed that we would make sure to allow the children to have the opportunity to excel in what they wanted to do. Although the way we get them there is different, we both continue to share the same goal. The different ways are due to different parenting styles, yet I honestly believe their dad looks at the children’s best interest prior to making decisions most of the time.
7 years later, our schedule has changed, the goals have not. You would think we had a few crystal balls and could see into the future.