Children, particularly young ones ages three to five years old, can easily become collateral damage during their parents' divorce. Therefore, a divorce attorney will usually work with parents to create special parenting plans that proactively address potential issues their children may experience during and after the familial separation.
Parenting Plans Can Help to Prevent Disagreements
Parenting plans are basically agreements between soon-to-be ex-spouses regarding the care of their children. They outline topics like:
- Parental custody and visitation schedules
- Involvement in school
- Physical and mental care guidelines
The purpose of parenting plans is to tackle potential problems before they arise, essentially preventing as many disagreements as possible. This is good not only for divorced parents' wellbeing, but for their children's wellbeing as well; witnessing frequent arguments can damage kids' self-esteem and sense of security.
Parenting Plans that Address the Needs of Very Young Children
Children aged three to five years are very impressionable and easily destabilized by divorce. They can regress into earlier stages of development and exhibit troubling behavior such as bedwetting if they feel emotionally unstable.
Working with a divorce lawyer to develop a parenting plan could nip many of these symptoms in the bud. The best parenting agreements for three- to five-year-old children include the following elements.
- Equal custody for both parents since a young child needs exposure to his/her mother and father for healthy development.
- A stable long-term schedule. The division of custody should remain as consistent as possible from week to week.
- Sometimes, emphasizing longer periods of time spent with each parent can be better than bouncing kids back and forth between homes every other day.
When Parenting Plans are not Enough
Parents may want to consult a mental health professional or therapist if their three- to five-year-old children experience significant behavioral issues throughout the divorce.