If you’re navigating a divorce in Washington, you may need to prepare a co-parenting plan. Here’s a short guide to making the process as easy as possible.
First: Establish civility
Before you and your ex can outline the nuts and bolts of a co-parenting plan, cultivating mutual respect is essential. Yes, the other person may have hurt you, and you may be angry. But the bottom line is that you share children, and they come first.
Your child’s mental health and well-being rely on your maturity and ability to work together. Before you start preparing a custody and parenting plan, establish a working relationship with your ex. You don’t need to be best friends, but you do need to work with each other respectfully.
Everyday things to consider in a co-parenting plan
A co-parenting plan outlines boundaries, routines and standards that both parents agree to follow in the wake of a divorce or separation. Some families choose to document everything down to the smallest detail while others have more fluid agreements. Whichever way you go, don’t forget about quotidian activities.
For example, morning and bedtime routines are important. They provide stability for young kids and teenagers, so adults should make a concerted effort to do it the same way every night regardless of who’s at the parenting helm. Other everyday co-parenting points to consider include:
- School pick-up and drop-off arrangements
- Online tools and access
- Terminology, including what is acceptable language and what is not
- Discipline standards
- Homework and practice time
Divorces needn’t be contentious. When both parties choose civility over hostility, negotiations and co-parenting plans are much more manageable.