Why is establishing a parenting plan so important?

Going through a divorce is never easy, but it's especially tough for kids. The separation between a child's parents is often the most painful aspect of your divorce any children involved. Arizona assembled a group of child development and mental health specialists, attorneys and other experts to determine how family courts should handle parenting time when divorces also include children. One of the most important things that that statewide survey determined is that unless some special circumstance existed, courts should place an emphasis on preserving the healthy and continuing relationships between children of divorce and their parents.

There are several reasons why encouraging parents to maintain relationships with their children are important. Good parent-child relationships can assist children develop emotionally. They can also help children with their social interactions and academic achievements. Children who are involved in both of their parent's lives typically have better opportunities to become socially well-adjusted.

There are many ways to stay in your child's life after divorce, but the first step should be to develop a good parenting plan with your ex-spouse. It's important to know that although it would be ideal for children to never become separated from either parent for longer than two days at a time, this may not always work in every situation. For example, military members or parents who live out of state may have to arrange visitation with their children in sporadic "clumps of time" throughout the year.

Regardless of which plan you and your ex-spouse ultimately decide to implement, it's important that you remember that contact with your child is important. Perhaps your ex-spouse will agree to have a direct phone line installed in your child's room to facilitate voice communication. Or perhaps you could provide your child with a cellphone or tablet if email or text messaging might be more appropriate for your situation.

Unfortunately, parents don't always see eye to eye when it comes to developing a reasonable parenting plan. In these situations, the use of an attorney might be a good solution. Your Arizona family law attorney can negotiate with the other parent or their attorney on your behalf to develop a solution that preserves your access to your child and also promotes their continued development.

Source: Arizona Courts.gov, "Planning for parenting time, Arizona's guide for parents living apart," accessed May. 19, 2015

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