The parenting plan should just be a starting place for you. Anything you can both agree to in the future should become your plan. You aren't bound to this plan for the rest of your lives.
Is the parenting plan working? Successful co-parenting means not only that the parents work together, but that the children cooperate with the process as well. All of you have to work together to help this new family structure work effectively. Here are tips to get past common problems:
In mediation, the parents meet with a neutral mediator (who usually has background as a lawyer or therapist) who helps the two parents find solutions that work for their lives, instead of making those decisions for them as a judge would do.
Dear Mr. Dad,
My wife and I are expecting our first child. The problem is that I'm in the US Marine Corps on tour in Iraq. I have been here since the beginning of the pregnancy and I might not be there for the birth of our child.
My wife is having a hard time doing this on her own and I feel that there's nothing I can do to support her. I'm reading your book, The Expectant Father, which I find very helpful. But do you know of any resources that are specifically aimed at military dads and/or their families?
Dear Mr. Dad: I've been deployed in Afghanistan for 13 months and am returning home next week. Being apart from my wife and children for so long has got me committed to making some major changes in my relationships with them. How easy will this be to do?
You have your child packed up and ready to go with the other parent -- and your ex doesn't show up. You can't call the cops and have them haul your ex to your door to pick up your child, but there are other things you can do.
It's been my experience that a home filled with anger, turmoil, or violence is a bad environment for children. Divorce isn't the only choice though, so let's talk about other situations you might find yourself in and how to explain them to your children.
Custody of children is a hotly contested issue in many divorces, but many divorces also involve a heated debate about the custody of small furry children as well. If you're in a situation where custody of your pet is an issue, the first thing you need to do is understand what the law is.
The holidays are a wonderful time -- except when your kids are cranky, overtired, and over-stimulated. Then they are hell-a-days, not holidays. Divorced parents find that managing the holidays can be a huge challenge.
It's easy to see your child as a simple way to convey a message to the other parent but it's a bad idea. When you ask your child to be a messenger, you're unwittingly asking him or her to be the receptacle for emotional feedback from the other parent.