Have you ever dreamed of picking up your kids, putting your things in the car and driving as far away as possible from your spouse to start a new life, just you and your children? It may be your dream, but it is probably not the kids’. Children thrive on spending time with both their parents, except in exceptional circumstances.

When getting a Florida divorce, you must present a parenting plan to the court to detail how your shared child custody will work. These are five things to consider:

  1. Put your kids first: This is about what is best for your children, not what you want. It is not about what anyone else thinks either. If you know that the other parent has more time or can do certain things better with the children, allow this to happen, even if it goes against society’s norms.
  2. Never talk badly about the other parent: You need to keep your feelings about your ex to yourself; it is essential for the well being of your child. They need to feel safe to talk about what happens when they are not with you.
  3. Communicate: Maintaining open communication with your ex-spouse can be hard, but it is essential. Make sure your children know what is going on too.
  4. Listen to your child: Children have an opinion, make sure they are allowed to express it. While you do not always need to give in to their wishes all the time, you need to listen and take the time to explain when you go against their wishes.
  5. Choose your battles: Some things are definitely worth fighting for, some are not. Choose how you spend your time and energy.

Remember, situations can change with time. Review your parenting plan regularly, and agree with the other parent to adjust as necessary. If you cannot agree on modifications, you could ask a judge to decide, but it is better to negotiate changes yourselves.