Your parenting plan isn’t just a set of rules about how you and your ex divide your time with the children. It is also a document that guides how you parent them after the divorce.
Although the best outcome may require investing more time as you negotiate your initial arrangements, the payoff is a better relationship between you and your ex, as well as between you and the children.
Creating consistent rules for the children that you outline in your parenting plan can make the transition to co-parenting easier for the whole family. What rules will you generally need to agree on and mutually enforce with your ex when you co-parent?
Weeknight and weekend curfews
Children at different ages need different amounts of sleep. Grade-school children will often go to bed while the sun is still out in the late spring and fall, while teenagers can potentially stay up later.
Agreeing on curfews that are appropriate for all of your children and enforcing them at both houses keeps things consistent and ensures a stable sleep routine for the children.
Screen time limitations
Especially when your children are younger, you may have rules limiting how long they can be on different devices or what they can do on them. Putting those rules down in writing will make it easier for you to enforce them with your children, who will likely try to push back against such restrictions.
Limitations on socialization
Maybe you only allow your children a certain number of social gatherings a month, or perhaps how frequently they see their friends is contingent on their performance at school or overall attitude. Both parents need to be in agreement regarding how frequently kids, especially teenagers, go out with their friends, have overnight gatherings and attend parties.
If both parents enforce the same rules consistently, the children will know what to expect and how to behave during a stressful time full of uncertainty. Including the right details in a parenting plan will help set your family up for co-parenting success.