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It can be overwhelming to think about how you will coordinate an adequate plan for caring for your children when you and your spouse separate from one another. You want the transition to be seamless, not only for your sake, but for your children to feel safe and supported too.

Having a detailed parenting plan can help you prioritize your children and stay organized at the same time. To do this, you’ll want to include short- and long-term plans, solidify a communication method and consider how you will handle conflicts as they arise.

Add detail to custody schedule

It’ll be important to think about how you plan to schedule parenting time. This might seem like a given, but including specifics about how you will handle both weekly exchanges and annual occasions may help you remain cordial with your ex. So, instead of just planning the dates of each child drop off and pick up, add specifics about the time and places where these exchanges will take place. And rather than only deciding how you will divide custody on holidays, vacations and breaks from school the first year after divorce, you can also consider creating a pattern you’d like to follow in the years to come.

Establish a communication plan

Thinking about how you will communicate about your child’s needs will benefit both co-parents and children. For example, if you feel uncomfortable about having your ex text and call you like they did while you were married, establish a note in your plan that you will only use email or co-parent app to message one another about your children. This way you aren’t withholding information and you know where to expect to hear from one another.

You’ll also want to be sure not to depend on your children when it comes to passing along a message to your co-parent. Having your child be a messenger can make them feel like they are stuck in the middle of a fight, which isn’t a great feeling.

Problem-solve in advance

Another way to mitigate conflict it to develop a plan for handling disagreements in advance. Maybe you will plant to seek out a divorce support group help or a therapist’s advice before confronting your ex. Or you will plan meetings with a neutral third-party when you come across roadblocks. Doing all you can to prevent a shouting match will help you keep your head up through this shift to single parenting. You can also speak to a family law attorney about parenting plan points that will make you successful as you begin co-parenting.