Divorce is a tough process for everybody in the family, including the kids. If you are going though a divorce with children involved, it is important for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to put the needs of the children first when coming up with a custody plan post-divorce. In the modern courts, it is assumed that co-parenting is the best path to take when setting up a custody situation, as it allows both parents to be in regular contact with the children even if the parents do not co-habitate. However, coming up with a co-parenting plan can be complicated and stressful. According to Healthline, having solid ground rules is a must where co-parenting is concerned.

Co-parenting plans will operate differently depending on your personal situation. For instance, you may decide that when the children are in the custody of one parent that the one parent is responsible for everything surrounding the kids: taking them to school or extracurricular activities, for instance. Otherwise, you may decide to split these responsibilities no matter who the kids are residing with at the time.

Another important part of “ground rules” involve what rules are enforced at what houses. For instance, having bedtime be routine, announced, and consistent is paramount for children, particularly young ones. If at Dad’s house the kids have to be in bed by 9pm and at Mom’s house bedtime is 11pm, this is going to cause problems.

Having a consistent “switching” routine is also important. Where will you meet to pick up the kids and exchange custody? Some parents are OK with doing this at the house of whoever has custody at the time, and others prefer to do so in a public place, like a library or a restaurant.