We’ve talked about the importance of creating a parenting plan, and how the individual ages of your children will play a significant role in that plan. As you prepare to have that meeting with the other parent, here are a few tips to make it a successful one.
Pick a Location
Choose a place to meet the other parent that is neutral for both parties and quiet enough to concentrate on the matter at hand. This should be a safe place where both of you can discuss the necessary topics without feeling threatened or oppressed.
Set Expectations for Duration
Set realistic expectations ahead of time for how long the meeting will take. Be sure to give yourselves enough time to accomplish your goals, but don’t spend so much time at once that you’re tempted to become frustrated or exhausted. If necessary, plan for two shorter meetings instead of one long, grueling one.
Prepare to Listen and be Respectful
Arrive at the meeting ready to genuinely listen to each other. If all you’ve planned for is talking, that may be all you do. Know in advance that the meeting will work best if each party makes conscious effort to listen quietly for part of the time. In addition to listening, prepare yourself to speak respectfully to the other parent.
Be Ready to Admit When You’re Wrong
Mistakes happen, and your meeting is likely no exception. Being mature enough to apologize when those mistakes are made, or when the wrong thing slips out, will show the other parent that you’re taking this seriously.
It might help to periodically remind yourself why you’re at this meeting. You’re creating a parenting plan for your kids. Focus on your children at every step, and keep the meeting concentrated on what’s ultimately best for them. To that end, be specific at all times, and don’t assume the other parent knows exactly what you mean.
If you go into the meeting tense, angry, or nervous, there’s a good chance it will be both ineffective and unpleasant for you both. If it helps, agree on a good breaking point to stand up, drink some water, and take a few deep breaths. You can control yourself, and staying relaxed makes it much easier.
Know When to End the Meeting
If either party is having difficulty with any of these, or if tensions simply run too high, acknowledge it openly, and agree to give it another try when you’re both more up to the challenge. It will help if you’re determined to make this meeting work, but not if your determination supersedes your judgment or ability to reason.
Consider these tips, brought to you by our divorce attorneys , and remind yourself what’s most important–not just for the parenting plan, but for your children in the long term. We’re here to help; if you have questions, or are interested in learning more about our services, please let us know.