Even when their relationship is not easy, parents typically want to ensure that they are providing their children with stability and security. Even if you and the other parent do not get along, it is possible that you can provide your children with a home environment that is loving, nurturing and peaceful. Co-parenting can be challenging, especially for parents who are not married, but it is not impossible.
For unmarried parents, it is important to be thoughtful and careful regarding the ways that you parent. Having a strong custody and visitation plan, or simply an organized parenting schedule, is not something only reserved for divorced parents. Each family will benefit from structure and a clear plan, and there are steps to take to ensure that you and the other parent are putting the needs of the kids first.
Organizing your parenting plan
Parents who were never married may assume that they do not truly need a parenting plan. However, a formalized plan will not only ensure that you and the other parent have reasonable expectations, but it can also ensure that your kids have a set schedule that they can understand. When creating a parenting plan, unmarried parents will benefit from considering the following:
- The amount of time each parent will have with the kids
- How the two parents will share time during holidays, school breaks, birthdays and more
- How the parents will access critical records pertaining to the children
- How the parents will communicate with the children when they are not with them
It can be difficult to co-parent, even if the two parents were never married. It is helpful to remember that the goal is to protect the best interests of the children, even when it is difficult. To make co-parenting easier, both parents will need to commit to being forgiving, respectful and willing to communicate with each other.
Creating a plan that works
If you are unsure of how to create a meaningful parenting plan that will work for you and your kids for years to come, you may benefit from seeking professional guidance and support. An assessment of your current situation can provide you with insight regarding the terms you will need for your parenting and custody plan. This is an important and meaningful step for New Jersey parents who were never married but are parenting together.