3 Questions for Parents
Separation and divorce mark the formal end to marriage, not to parenting. If you have children, separation and divorce begin a new phase in parenting with your ex-spouse. In order to make this new phase work smoothly, during divorce mediation it is helpful think about and answer these 3 questions :
1. What can we do to minimize disruption to our child/children's lives? In order to figure this out, you will need school calendars, summer camp schedules, sport schedules, and both parents' work and vacation schedules. You will also need to think about holiday celebrations, birthdays, and other important events. When you make plans, think about your children's activities, homework, friends,and bedtimes. Do your best to maintain stability in your children's lives.
2. What is the best way for me to communicate with my ex? You may not want to have much contact with your ex. Your parenting plan can be very detailed, so that you will need to communicate less often. Nonetheless, there will still be times when you will have to communicate with the other parent. For example, if your work schedule changes, if snow closes school, or if you have a flat tire and will be late, you will still need to let the other parent know. Some people prefer texting or email so that they don't have to hear the other person's voice. Others choose phone messages for last minute changes. Read more.
3. How can I share important information and notices with my ex? Permission slips, school pictures, enrollment forms, doctors' appointments, report cards,and carpools are just some of the kinds of information you may need to share. Don't assume that both parents are receiving notices--many schools and offices don't have enough staff to keep up with requests for duplicates. Think about what will work best for you. Some parents have a folder for important notices and information that is sent back and forth between homes. Others scan information and email it. Others decide to send mail.
Parenting plans that thoroughly answer these three questions help children and parents adjust to separation and divorce. Click here for a helpful article about parenting plans.
Sheila Russian provides mediation services for family issues and divorce in Baltimore, Towson, Owsings Mills, Columbia, and Westminster. Flexible office hours include daytime, evening, and weekend appointments. Phone: 410-415-5544.