While there are basic, standardized forms that help parents negotiate shared custody arrangements in Texas, every family is different. What works for your neighbors or your brother-in-law may not work at all for your family.
Each of the parents will have their unique needs, and the children are also unique individuals that require careful consideration. For example, some children already prone to anxiety or who have special needs might benefit from remaining in the same house even after the divorce. Others will potentially benefit from the fresh start offered when they transfer to a new school district.
The best way to help your children during your divorce is to customize your custody arrangements based on what the kids need.
You can potentially prevent the worst fallout
Divorce can cause mental health issues, social alienation and a slump in grades. Depending on the timing, that decline in academic performance might affect someone’s college admissions or career prospects.
You and your ex know your children better than anyone, so you understand what they currently need, what their dreams are and how they respond to stressful situations. You can use that information to create a parenting plan that will really support them.
Would they prefer to not have to make statements regarding their preferences? Then you may want to focus on settling the matter outside of court. If they are already prone to anxiety or mental health issues, then it may be smart to agree ahead of time to get them into counseling during and after your divorce.
You can reduce future conflict
Nothing makes divorce harder for children than parents who won’t stop fighting even after the end of their marriage. Witnessing parental conflict can take a toll on children’s mental health and sense of family, so a carefully-created parenting plan that will minimize changes and conflict between parents can help better support the children in the family than one that leads to more arguments.
There are numerous benefits for the parents as well. A strong, comprehensive parenting plan will mean that you have fewer metaphorical fires to tend to during the divorce. You can reduce the likelihood of you and your ex going back to court for modification later and can potentially set your entire family up for a smooth transition to your new living arrangements.
Thinking ahead to your future sharing custody of children with your ex will help you plan to better support them during and after your divorce.