Decisions & Negotiations for Parents During Divorce
To negotiate about a project or task and to make a decision about the things families normally discuss such as vacations, money, activities, church, moving etc. are some of the same things you will be doing after divorce. You will be making some of these decisions as a single parent, some based on situations in another marriage, and some with your children’s other parent.
It is quite different when you are making decisions about children. Children are not tasks, they are people. People with feelings, perspectives, needs and wants. There are many decisions to make about their lives. In order to negotiate these issues, the first step is to identify what they are. Identifying the alternatives is the next step. The third is negotiating and putting your plan into action.
Sometimes you have to give up what you need or want in divorce. You lose some control because both parents have rights. (Except for parents who make decisions that are not safe for children. In these cases the courts need to take control.) Ideally you can learn to decide what is reasonable and fair for everyone involved. Experiencing a divorce relationship is similar to honoring an ongoing contract in which you identify the changes along the way and respond accordingly. The alternative is a bitter divorce with constant arguments.
Understanding that each of you has different parenting styles is another of the realities of divorce. Hopefully your values are similar in how you think children should be raised and guided. Similar value systems make it possible to negotiate. If you are not sure what you value in raising children, it may help you to think about what you value in the following areas: education, religion, discipline, manners, guidance, boundaries, activities, music, art, culture, sport, money, world issues, politics, and social skills. These are the areas in which you will be making decisions and giving one another input if you are in a co-parenting relationship.
Useful Online Tools
Resources & Tools
CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE -- Children of divorce often feel trapped in the middle. They should never be used as messengers between the two former spouses. Nor should they be used as intelligence operatives.
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Online Custody Tracking
Custody JunctionTMallows you to schedule, track and monitor current and future custody, visitation, and support arrangements. You can develop and share a detailed parenting calendar, track all scheduled and non-scheduled parenting events, and generate valuable statistical reports for personal or legal use.
Online Parenting Plans
3StepParentingPlanTM uses cutting-edge online software to create your Parenting Plan. Using a smart question-and-answer application, 3StepParentingPlanTM gets you a fully customized Parenting Plan in a little more than half of a lawyerÕs billable hour.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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