They also suffer from guilt because one parent wants joint custody and the other parent wants full custody and the battle rages on, worse than it had during the actual marriage. You have sought legal advice, and the recommendation, for the sake of the children, was a good co-parenting plan signed by both parents.
Ways to an amicable agreement that suits both parents
- First to be decided are who the children are going to be with. Once that is established, discuss week-end arrangements, which day or days on the weekend, how long the children can be with the non-custodial parent during school breaks and Christmas holidays. Stipulate times the children are to be picked up so the other parent can make plans for himself or herself.
- Make a list beforehand of all the children’s expenses: clothing, money for school projects, groceries, dental and doctor appointments, camping trips, allowances for the children, unexpected contingencies.
- One of the most important things to be clear on if you are from different faiths is how the children are to be raised. This can become a big problem if it is not dealt with now. If one of you is Christian and the other is Jewish or Muslim, there are dietary and other laws and religious holidays that must be taken into account.
- If you are both from the same faith and are religious, if only one of you are going to see that the children go to church and bible study, or if you are going to alternate and both of you take the children on a Sunday to church.
- Discuss the children’s school fees and the school and college you both want them to attend. If there is too much bad blood between you and you can’t stand the other partner, agree, again for the children’s sake that you both attend at the school to meet with the principal or teacher at school. The best way of course is for both of you to attend, especially at school plays and sporting events. You need not sit together, but it will be good for the children to see the non-custodial parent present. Don’t bring a new partner along.
- If you have not decided discipline issues before, deal with it now and decide if you both agree on the kind of punishment the children are to receive when they step out of line and do something wrong.
- There are always unexpected things that come along. Decide who the partner can call in an emergency if the two of you can’t be found, and provide names and telephone numbers.