What will your child think of your parenting plan?

For many parents, during a divorce, they really do want to meet the statutory standard of the “best interests of the child” when making decisions about their child. Many truly believe they are doing what is best for their children. But for any divorced parent, it is a daunting standard and it may not be easily attained.

Because it means when the child’s other parent does something that irritates you or frustrates you, you say nothing. When they are late in exchanging your child, either on the pickup or drop-off, you give them the benefit of the doubt. You do not begin a sarcastic interrogation or use the incident as grounds to begin a detailed character assassination.

You do this because you love your child and you want your custody agreement to work. And not just work, but work well. Because your child does not get a second chance to have their childhood. And you will never get another chance to experience their childhood with them.

You divorced because your relationship with your spouse did not work. However, because you have a child or children, you will begin a different relationship after the divorce is complete and the child custody or visitation order is in force.

This relationship, while it involves the other parent, is not about them. It is about your child. This means your irritations, frustrations and annoyances do not matter. They are yours, not your child’s. Your job is to reduce the conflict and ensure that they have a good experience as a child.

One way of doing this is with a well-crafted parenting plan. Such a plan forces you to think through much of your role as a parent, the time you will have your child, including holidays and vacations. This can allow you to visualize what is important and how you will maximize the value of the time you spend with your child.

Consider the alternative, do you want to overhear your child in 10 or 15 years relating to his or her friends how disastrous your parenting skills were after the divorce?

Source:, “6 Common Mistakes Divorced Parents Make,” Olivia Babine, May 18, 2016

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