California parents who are getting a divorce will have the additional consideration of helping their children through this difficult process. One way to do this is with the creation of a thoughtful parenting plan, which can reduce conflict and make the adjustment easier for them.
In its most basic form, a parenting plan specifies the child custody and visitation schedule with each parent, including how holidays, vacations and special occasions will be handled. However, parents may want to discuss and include guidelines for other issues as well. This will vary from family to family but may include topics as wide-ranging as screen time, alcohol usage, bed times, and how the child will remain in touch with extended family members. Parents may also want to include an agreement about how they will communicate with each other. In potentially high-conflict situations, there is software that they can use for all of their communication that keeps a copy of those exchanges. This can help keep communication focused on the children rather than arguing over other issues.
New relationship rules
While the primary purpose of a parenting plan is to protect children, there are benefits in it for adults as well. Parameters laid out in the plan make boundaries clear so that arguments about them do not erupt later. One of the places where this can be most important is in outlining a process for introducing a new relationship into the mix. Parents may prefer to name a certain amount of time that the relationship has lasted before children meet the new person, but they may also want guidelines for their own comfort as well. It is generally always a bad idea to use children as conduits for messages to one another, and this can be especially true when it comes to new relationships. An agreement that parents must inform one another before telling the children can ease this discomfort.
It may be difficult, but talking through these issues will provide long-term benefits. No one has an easy time during a divorce, but it is paramount to put the best interests of the children first.