For many Minnesota parents who have decided to split up, a priority in moving forward is their children’s wellbeing. While the reasons that led to the parents splitting up might make it difficult to achieve, parents must work together to ensure their children’s happiness and stability after the break-up.
When many parents are negotiating child custody, they will also create a parenting plan to guide them through the new normal of shared parenting. While this plan might outline visitation and other important activities, there are many other things that parents can do to help their children. First, children need to be able to continue their individual, healthy relationships with both parents and parents should facilitate this. They should not feel as if they have to choose between parents. Second, parents should offer support for their children when their children want to talk about their problems with the other parent, without making the situation about them instead of about the child and their relationship with their other parent.
Third, parents must work together to make it easy on their children to celebrate holidays and special occasions like birthdays, by providing children with a joint birthday party, for example, where the whole family can come together. Similarly, children will still expect the family to do things together as a family and parents should attempt to make this happen. Finally, parents should agree on the rules that children will follow in both households, as having different rules can result in problems as children need structure and routines, particularly when navigating a new reality of two homes and separated parents.
Parents might also consult with a family law lawyer who might help them through this process. A lawyer may be able to assist parents in creating a parenting plan that works for the whole family and in representing their client during court visits.