When you have two separate homes during a separation period or post-divorce, managing family plans can get complicated quickly. Scheduling pick-up and drop-off times between both homes, deciding how holidays are going to work, and remembering all of the after-school activities and events your children have can be a lot to handle. On top of that, you need to stay current on your kids’ medical data, shoe sizes, clothing sizes, school schedules and everything else in their lives.
During a difficult divorce or separation, having to deal with all this with someone you’ve just ended your relationship with is probably not at the top of your wish list, but it’s important to do so for the well-being of your kids. To help make this easier, here are three rules you should follow to manage all of the information and family plans across both homes.
Stick to the parenting plan
The whole point of a parenting plan in New Mexico is to provide a guide for handling all manner of parenting matters post-separation or divorce. This plan should include all the details, including how holidays will be handled and the basic time sharing schedule as well as how you and your former spouse will make important decisions regarding the kids. Some plans go even further and touch on the children’s sleeping arrangements, web use and other matters. If you are still creating your plan, make sure you’re involved in writing it. A parenting plan should best serve the needs of your children and your family, so if you’re satisfied with it, follow it. If there are serious issues with it, you will need to have it modified. If your relationship with your ex-spouse is good, you may be able to verbally agree on alterations. However, if you think there could be an issue, it is best to have it modified by the court and it is always best to put any changes in writing and file that with the court.
Have a backup plan for changes
As much as you try to stick to your parenting plan, there is always a chance that something will pop up and you won’t be able to stick to it. Be prepared to accept this when it happens, as just a little bit of flexibility can go a long way when it comes to having family plans come together. Create a plan with your co-parent that addresses these situations so you both know what to do. Keep an eye on the plan as time goes by; it may need to be altered as your children age and their needs change.
Avoid any badmouthing
Never speak negatively about your co-parent when you are around your children. Their other parent is every bit as important as you are to them. When you or your co-parent say bad things about the other person in front of your kids, it can cause them unnecessary emotional pain and stress. This type of behavior also tends to lead to more conflict, which will make family plans even harder to stick to. Save your negative talk for trusted adults in your life, such as friends or your therapist, and avoid topics around your children that may tempt you into talking negatively about your former spouse.
Managing plans for your family across two different homes isn’t always easy, but it does not have to be incredibly hard, either. The rules above are just a few examples of what you can do to help keep your plans and schedules running as smoothly as possible. Tweak them as needed to fit your own family, and don’t be afraid to make some rules of your own. The more stability you can provide your children, the happier they – and you – will be.