Most parenting plans developed during a divorce involve the need to transfer the children from one parent's home to another. Your custody and visitation agreement may involve one parent taking the kids every weekend and/or a couple of evenings a week. If the parents don't live close to one another, these transfers may only occur on holidays or during the kids' vacations from school.
Even if you and your co-parent are on good terms and agree that your priority is doing what's best for the kids, it's wise to detail in your parenting plan when each parent will have them. That way, if there's any confusion or disagreement, you have a legal document to reference. Further, it gives children a sense of stability to know which parent will be taking care of them at any given time.
Be on Your Best Behavior -- Yes, Parents,Too
Transitioning your kids to the other parent can be difficult at first. It can take time for everyone to get used to it -- logistically and emotionally. You can help the process by being on time and reliable. No matter what your ex may have said or done to anger or frustrate you (recently or in the past), holding up the transition will only upset the kids. Neither are these drop-offs and pick-ups the time to argue with your co-parent. If you need to encounter your ex when you're not on good terms, remain calm and polite. Kids shouldn't dread that their parents will start fighting every time they see each other.
Be Mature and Remember to Prioritize Your Kids' Feelings
Having your kids away from you, even for a day or two, can be excruciating the first time you hand them over to your ex -- particularly if your parenting styles differ. However, it's essential not to infringe on his or her time with them. Avoid multiple calls, texts and emails while they're with their other parent. It may help for you and your co-parent to schedule a time each day when you'll get in touch with the kids (such as breakfast time or before bed) and let the kids know so that they'll feel secure that they'll hear from you. Don't let them feel like you're back home pining for them (even if you are). They shouldn't feel guilty for being away from one parent while they're with the other.
If you're having issues with a spouse not complying with the parenting plan, showing up late for drop-offs and pick-ups (or not at all) or trying to change plans at the last minute and the two of you can't work it out, it may be necessary to revisit the parenting plan with the help of your attorney.
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