As time passes, and predictability returns, you are able to provide regular care for your children.
The chaos does pass and you will be able to have time with them.
There is little debate that your children will benefit from having both parents playing a regular active role in their life.
Once there is some regularity, it is helpful for both parents to write down the arrangement for sharing the children and to sign it as a formal agreement.
It's helpful for several reasons:
- It gives everyone, especially the children some predictability on which home they are in & when.
- It allows both parents to plan activities and time well in advance for when they have their children.
- It minimises the ability (and likelihood) of either party to use the children as a weapon in the process of settling the other matters in divorces.
It is a real challenge because after separation, it can be difficult for the parents to agree on ANYTHING - especially on who has the children and how they should be looked after.
It is very complicated. Who has which kids on birthdays & Christmas & how do school holidays work ? what about after school care and grandparents or external carers ? All of these things add to confusion and uncertainty (and arguments).
Check my Help Yourself page for a sample parenting plan to get you started.
Allow a little time for an arrangement to form. Arrange things so you are actually able to collect and drop off the children when you say. Honour your commitment to them.
It is extremely helpful to talk to people who already have some shared care. Discuss things that actually work and get ideas - I was told about "Sports Bag Technology" in the early days. Any sports equipment like shin guards, or jerseys go into a special bag that always gets taken from one house to the other.
These days, anything that anyone wants to move from house to house, goes in the bag, soccer boots, iPod chargers, the lunchbox from Mum's - whatever. It is a great comfort for everyone - things don't get forgotten - and to this day works a treat.
If you can act in the Children's best interests and let the process unfold so everyone has time to adjust at each step, the whole thing can be less stressful and emotional for all - especially Your Children
Create a stable routine for the kids first, without trying to resolve financials or process your divorce. The step to writing a Parenting Plan becomes just a formality, which gives everyone security to move ahead.