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What is normal after a divorce?

50533103_S (1).jpgOne issue with a divorce is that it upsets the routines a family has grown accustomed to. A father and mother separate and the children are shuttled between them. What had been normal is no more and something has to fill that space. You can fill it with conflict, disputes and acrimony. Or you can decide to work with your child's other parent to do what is best for your children.

The hard part is what that will be, will be different for your child or children than for someone else's kids. For a parenting plan to both work and serve a child's best interest, both parents must work together. But what works may be very different than what you may have imagined as being "normal."

A woman writes of how her parenting plan evolved to where her former spouse would drive five hours to her home every weekend to live with her and their children because it was what her children wanted and needed.

As bizarre as it seemed, this became her normal. At first, it was difficult and painful, after all, she had divorced him and he had a girlfriend at his new home. But it seemed to work and their children seemed to adjust to the new situation.

It was so different from "normal" that at one point, they even abandoned it after their daughter complained that they should live like other "normal" divorced families.

But eventually, the children's father was back on the weekends. She admits this arrangement was unconventional and somewhat odd, but her children will have memories of sleeping in a tent in the backyard and cooking together with dad, and not of bitter arguments and stony silences, of tense handoffs and constant sniping.

And isn't that really the true meaning of "the best interests of the children." With an unconventional parenting plan, it is alway a good idea to have everything in writing, to minimize the likelihood for misunderstandings.

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