Shared custody arrangements, also known as co-parenting arrangements, are the most common outcome in modern Colorado divorces. Spouses ending their marriage can anticipate sharing custody with their ex.
The Colorado courts understand that divorced couples are likely to disagree about how they approach parenting. Everything from the division of parenting time to parental expectations for the children can cause conflict between the parents. That potential conflict is exactly why couples need to create a thorough parenting plan during their divorce proceedings.
Agreeing to terms allows parents to build a plan for parenting well in the future, which is preferable from having the courts set all the terms. The best parenting plans provide guidelines for both parents and help reinforce positive parenting practices.
Address all potential issues regarding parenting time
The first and most obvious issue you need to handle is how you intend to split up time between the parents. Addressing everything from snow days at school to brakes, vacations and holidays, is smart.
Ideally, parents can agree to shared parenting time on special days, such as major holidays and birthdays. If that is not possible, then an alternating schedule should help keep things as fair and even as possible.
Try to consider all of the issues that may arise for the next few years, from summer camp to sleepovers and parties during parenting time. Doing so will make it easier for you to avoid conflict about time spent with the children.
Create standard rules and expectations for the children
One of the most difficult adjustments for children of divorce is the process of learning how to abide by the expectations and rules of two different households. Some children will even manipulate that irregularity to their advantage by playing the parents against one another.
Setting down expectations for everything from curfew and screen time every day to school performance in your parenting plan is the best way to avoid those conflicts. As long as you and your ex can agree on terms, you should be able to avoid the drama that can result from unmet expectations or significant discrepancies in the rules between households.
Outline a process for handling conflict
No matter how thorough your parenting plan may be, it is inevitable that you and your ex will find something to quarrel about eventually. Having the foresight to create a conflict resolution process will keep the situation from spiraling out of control.
Whether you want to work with a mutual friend or acquaintance as a mediator, or require that all communication during times of conflict be in writing, having a process in place to address conflicts as they arise will make your co-parenting experience easier for everyone involved.