The high and low emotions that you may experience through your divorce isn’t always something you can keep your kids from feeling too. Seeing their parents no longer get along or grasping their new reality after the divorce can be a lot to take in for children. Thankfully, you can be their guide through it all.

As your children go through the divorce process with you, it’s crucial to let them know what life after divorce will look like for them, and this can begin with creating a mindful parenting plan. In fact, compiling a parenting plan is part of the legal process of finalizing your divorce in a Maryland court. It gives parents the opportunity to work together to create a guide on how you’ll split custody and keep in touch about your children.

Legal and physical custody

Within your parenting plan, you should designate who will make important decisions for your children. These decisions may include how and where your child will receive medical care, where your child will attend school and if your child will participate in religious services or extracurriculars.

You should also include who your child will live with after divorce. Work on a schedule that clearly defines which days of each week your children will spend with each parent. And make long-term plans for which parent will take spend time with children on specific vacations, holidays or school breaks. Planning how you will handle picking up and dropping of your children will be useful to put into writing too.

Communication guidelines

Your custody schedule should also include a section that specifies how you will communicate updates about your child or address your child’s needs. When you separate, you will be less connected to the day to day life of your co-parent, so it’s critical create a communication plan beforehand. Based on how well you get along, you can choose if you’d like to follow a highly communicative co-parenting path or keep contact minimal through parallel parenting.

Breaking the news

After you build solid pillars for your parenting plan, you should be ready to let your child know that you are seeking a divorce. Even if you choose to disconnect your life almost completely from your co-parent’s life, it can helpful to tell your children about your plan to divorce with your ex. This may send a signal that it was a joint decision and that you will continue to both be part of their lives even after your breakup. Breaking the news will also be a lot easier if you’ve already pinpointed how you’d like the court to handle physical and legal custody and where you will live when the divorce is final.

Thinking about your children each step of your parenting plan and having it as a point of reference when you child asks questions about the divorce can help make the transition at lot smoother.