The best way to get through your divorce and be good parents together is to sit down and build a parenting plan together. This page guides you through it. It’s one of the finest gifts you can give your kids in divorce.
If you have children together, you’re stuck. No matter how awful your divorce gets, and no matter how difficult your spouse seems, you are still parents together. You will still be partners (although often reluctant partners) in rearing your children.
And your partnership continues as long as both of you are living, not just until the children are grown. Graduations, weddings, grandchildren, divorces. Each one of these will jerk you back into co-parenting mode.
You can’t get out of it. So you might as well make the best of it.
You might want to start by thinking through the terminology of custody. Or read about How Custody Works in the Real World. Or maybe you’re already ready to hear some tough words about the role of children in divorce. There’s also a lengthy questionnaire — Custody Questions — that I ask both parents to fill out when they’re uncertain or disagreeing about their parenting plan.
Here’s a comprehensive website on child custody from a dedicated lawyer in Michigan. The name of it is Child Custody & Divorce, provided by Jim Whalen in Flint, Michigan. It’s really well-done, and there’s lots of information there for people in general, not just in Michigan.
Here’s a summary of Parenting Plan Options from Joan Kelly, courtesy of Larry King in Denver.
Perhaps you’re already decided where the children will be living, and you just want to think through alternatives for your parenting schedule. Whatever schedule you and your spouse set for the children, you need to know how you’re going to make major decisions about them. And please read the list of things you can do to help your children get through your divorce a little more easily.