A divorce or paternity action can be stressful and scary for children. Many children can experience fear, anger, and anxiety when confronted with the dissolution or alteration of their family structure. When deciding how to proceed with child custody and visitation orders, a parenting plan can help ease some of the emotional insecurity and distress your child is experiencing. Providing a sense of stability, reassurance, and positivity can go a long way towards helping your child navigate the stormy waters of family court.
When preparing to request a custody and visitation order from the court, it is important that you prioritize your child’s interests and wellbeing, while also accounting for evolving needs and future expectations. You should explore developing a parenting plan, either alone or in cooperation with the other parent. A parenting plan can map out a course of action that will allow you and the children of the relationship to better cope with the separation. In some cases, mediation can help parents quickly develop a mutually agreed upon parenting plan which can ease both parties and children during subsequent court proceedings.
Different Needs at Different Ages
As your children mature, their needs and wants will change, and so you will most likely continue to revisit and modify your parenting plan. Younger children may benefit more from joint physical custody, for example, because the ability to spend more custodial time with each parent can foster a sense of stability and equilibrium. As your children get older, outside responsibilities can affect their schedule, including school events and extracurricular activities. Adolescents and preteens may benefit from having a “home base” that allows them to establish one residence while also having easy access to the non-custodial parent through shared visitation.
There are many services available to parents who need help crafting a parenting plan. Your local courts may provide counseling or guidance, and your community may also host workshops or nonprofit organizations committed to promoting healthy, happy families. The internet is also an amazing resource and can provide easy information at your fingertips. Here at Family Court Direct, through our network of independent legal professionals we have decades of experience documents and can also help direct you to the right resources for all you family law needs.