Divorce is one of those life events no one hopes to ever have visited upon them. We fall in love, walk down the aisle and then spend the rest of our lives hoping it won’t end in divorce. When there are children involved, those hopes are raised tenfold. As we know, that doesn’t always happen. As family law attorneys in Long Island New York, we have seen the damage that warring couples inflict upon those little ones and it’s for that reason we always encourage divorcing couples to keep their children in the front of their mind as they work their way through the dissolution of their marriage. Of course, none of it is intentional, and we know that emotions run high. But what if you could manage to agree on issues when it comes to your children, even if other areas of your marriage are being shredded?
It matters little how much hatred or anger or rage or pain you feel towards your spouse, the goal should be first to agree to fairly communicate with one another when it comes to your children. You can co-parent and you can make those most important decisions together. It’s not easy and there is no magical fix, but you don’t want a court to make those decisions for you. Clients will often say, “I annihilated my marriage, I hurt my wife beyond repair, she hates me and I don’t blame her. But she’s been kind enough to allow me to remain someone to look up to in our daughters’ eyes.” There is a certain healing aspect to knowing someone is willing to go to great lengths to protect a relationship between a parent and child. Ideally, all divorcing couples can find that common thread. It may be one of the most difficult processes you experience during an already overwhelming divorce, but if you can make that happen, the benefits to your children are immeasurable.
Long Island Parenting Agreements
A settlement agreement sets forth the terms of a divorce and may define the way two divorcing people share time and the decision making process when it comes to their children. It eliminates the need for a judge to make those decisions and ensures the parents indeed remain the ones deciding what’s best for their children.
A settlement agreement also can provide a sense of stability for your children. Even as their lives are changing, knowing there’s one thing that remains consistent can help them in the transition.
So what needs to be addressed in these documents? As divorce attorneys, a few topics that are universal in parenting plans include:
Custody and living arrangements – When kids know what to look forward to, it can ease their anxiety.
Visitation – If they know they get to hang out with Mom or Dad next weekend or if they know vacation on the beaches will continue, again, it eases any anxiety they may be feeling, but are helpless to prevent.
Educational expectations – Just because Dad is no longer in the same house doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in how well the kids are doing in school. Letting the kids know this too ensures Mom and Dad are on the same page.
Other topics you might wish to include are house rules at both homes, expectations when it comes to practicing their faith, holiday expectations, and anything else unique to your family dynamics.