When a couple splits, the children who fare the best have parents who learn to co-parent quickly.
Good co-parents believe in preserving and strengthening the existing familial bonds, and are able to strive for that despite the simultaneous trauma of the breakup. During this time of transition, parents can reduce conflict by utilizing a trained professional to facilitate healthy discussions to identify common co-parenting goals, understand the legal framework, map out the parenting time and responsibilities, and establish new co-parenting ground rules.
Every parenting plan should address the children’s day-to-day needs (daycare/school, extracurriculars, etc.), plus map out other important times like holidays, school breaks, and vacations. A parenting plan may want to include specifics as to the location of the exchanges, which parent is to provide transportation, what happens if a parent is late, etc., depending on the family’s specific situation. A well-crafted parenting plan should be enforceable (a court order signed by a judge), durable (last many years), clear as to mutual expectations, and ideally outline a process for how to resolve any future co-parenting issues. A poorly-crafted parenting plan can invite confusion, conflict, and resentment.
Since all children are looking to the adults they love to provide answers, it is vitally important to commit to co-parenting immediately when a couple splits.