For many divorcing/separating parents, a Parenting Plan is a document that completes the divorce or separation agreement and sets some markers for their co-parenting relationship.
While it states the obvious on getting parents to agree on the sharing of the children, it also outlines some finer details necessary to raise children together while being apart.
But a Parenting Plan is not fail-proof and more often than not, parents find themselves contesting the terms after it has been made an order of court.
So, why is that?
This is because, for many separating/divorcing parents, the Parenting Plan lists a selection of generic guiding principles which are used as an inflexible template and therefore cannot be sustainable in the long run.
While a Parenting Plan is a legal document which is usually drawn by a legal professional, it really requires the insight and mindfulness of a professional from a mental health background specialised in family therapy; divorce and co-parenting.
A GOOD Parenting Plan will set the co-parents on a path of understanding properly the challenges of the co-parenting relationship, and equip them with strategies to overcome them in the long term.
With a good Parenting Plan in place, co-parents can dismiss the fear of parenting apart and embrace strategies to raise their children on a foundation of sustainable shared principles.
The right plan will help you better manage your co-parenting behavioral challenges. The wrong one will diminish your co-parenting relationship.
Parenting Plans that co-parents find themselves contesting soon after they have been drawn are plans that have been drawn to solve problems somewhat unilaterally. Usually the legal professional who assisted them, is the one who decided the solution to a given problem and imposed that solution as the one to be agreed upon. It may incorporate some wisdom and values, but it demotes the purpose of the co-parenting relationship. It sends the clear message that what is written has to take place and leaves no room for differing points of view and how to resort to them.
Drafting a GOOD Parenting Plan, on the other hand, creates a platform for solving problems collaboratively. The process of reaching a GOOD Parenting Plan allows Co-Parents to realise that if you are having difficulty meeting expectations, something must be getting in the way. It allows to also recognise that you are each other’s best source of information when it comes to raising your children as their family, and not just referring to a template drawn in an attorney’s office.
You learn to work together to solve your co-parenting problems.
It is time for divorcing/separating parents to take back their responsibilities as parents and move forward with the understanding that while the situation may not always be ideal, your children deserve growing up with drama-free co-parenting!
“Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don’t want to believe that. But if you’re over age twenty-one, your life is what you’re making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.”
– John C. Maxwell
The Law doesn’t Raise Children. Parents Do!
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