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Divorcing parents should put children first

Most El Paso parents who are ending their marriage know that divorce can be difficult for their children. That can be especially true if the split is contentious. However, divorcing parents can do a lot to help their children adjust by setting aside bitter feelings and putting their kids' happiness first.

When a divorce is messy, it is easy for parents to question their ex's intentions whenever they make a last-minute scheduling change, bring the children home late or make a questionable parenting choice. However, things go more smoothly when each parent assumes the other has the best intentions. This attitude helps foster a successful co-parenting relationship that assures children their parents love them. To that end, parents should never vent or talk negatively about each other to their children. They should also never use their children as messengers.

Many experts believe that the first few months after a divorce set the tone for the new family arrangement. Therefore, it is critical to develop a written parenting plan to use as a blueprint. This plan should be created as soon as parents know they will be getting divorced. Topics the plan should cover include visitation times, frequencies and how to handle inevitable changes to the schedule. Others may include meeting guidelines, rules and discipline, visitation by grandparents and medical needs. The plan should be consulted any time there is a dispute.

Many parents find it helpful to consult with an attorney as they go through the process of a divorce. Legal counsel could help negotiate agreements on child custody, child support and other important divorce legal issues. If an order modification is ever necessary, an attorney could prepare and file the required motion.

Source: CDN, "Divorcing or divorced parents: kids come first," Paul Samakow, Aug. 14, 2016

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