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Wisconsin Family Law Articles

Creating a Workable Parenting Agreement

Communication and cooperation between parents are essential to effective parenting. When everyone lives in the same home, parents often regularly relay information and coordinate responses to issues concerning his or her children. After a divorce, parents have to adjust to communicating and parenting from separate residences. Negativity may still linger due to the results of property division or child custody rulings. Fortunately, there are ways to move past the negative emotions connected to divorce and engender a positive co-parenting relationship through your parenting agreement.

Establish Ground Rules

After your divorce, you and your former spouse will be required to observe the terms of the parenting plan. This plan will have set rules regarding decision-making, who will have time with the child according to a specific schedule, and other matters.  While having these terms memorialize in a tangible document is an excellent way to resolve ambiguities and understand how issues will be decided, the plan cannot create a cooperative atmosphere without assistance from you and your former partner. Taking time to develop concrete rules for how you will communicate with one another and maintain a functional and collaborative atmosphere for your children will benefit everyone.

Choose a Collaborative Divorce Model

The way in which you choose to manage your divorce will affect your children today and in the future. When parents opt to divorce using a non-adversarial model which allows the parties to be cooperative, the process can be less stressful for both parents and children. A collaborative divorce is a process in which the parties can work together amicably with the assistance of trained professionals to find solutions in divorce which benefit everyone while staying out of court. When you choose to divorce using a Collaborative approach, it sets the tone for a future co-parenting relationship and a parenting plan which is based on cooperation rather than conflict.

Show Respect for One Another

While it may seem that being respectful is a basic co-parenting premise, parents sometimes struggle to remain civil with one another when it comes to parenting issues.  Divorce is an intensely emotional process which impacts almost every aspect of a person’s life. After it is over, strong emotions will still be present and may cause parents to have justifiable animosity towards one another. These feelings will not change the fact that they are responsible for parenting their children together.  Remember, children are ever-watchful of their parents’ conduct towards each other and can interpret negative behavior between parents as being their fault. It is incumbent upon the parents to find a way to set these feelings aside for the good of their children and future relationship with each other.  By showing mutual respect while implementing your parenting plan terms, you both will provide reassurance to your children and build a more positive co-parenting dynamic.

Utilize Family-Centered Resources

It is emotionally jarring to go from being a unified family to living separate lives.  As such, it can be difficult to create a dynamic which supports everyone’s well-being and fosters positive co-parenting. The family may benefit from going through counseling together during this transition to your plan terms. There are also support groups for divorced parents and children of divorced parents which could assist in providing support during this time.  Emotional healing is necessary for everyone after divorce.  By using family-centered therapeutic resources, the family can work towards achieving a positive relationship with one another as they implement their parenting plan.

Positive co-parenting begins with creating a parenting plan which is mindful of the needs of the children and parents. We have knowledge and experience is helping families collaboratively develop plans which support the parent-child relationship and effective co-parenting. We are here to take a “first look” to help you figure out where to start. Please, contact us to schedule a consultation.

To learn more about Wisconsin divorce law, contact Karyn Youso, the family law attorney and mediator with over 27 years of experience.