As you and your spouse work out your parenting plan, you may have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees. Instead of taking your children’s needs into account, your approach might focus on your own desires. Proceeding in this manner may lead to disputes. And it could hurt your relationship with your children if you put your interests over theirs. But by focusing on your children, you can establish a sound parenting plan and a civil co-parenting relationship with your spouse.

Establishing your children’s best interests

You and your spouse may be mediating your divorce. In this case, you have leeway in creating a parenting plan that reflects your children’s needs as you know them. If you are litigating your divorce, your agreement will follow Arizona law, which prioritizes your children’s best interests over all other factors.

A judge will account for many variables when determining your children’s best interests. These will include:

  • Your children’s relationship with you and your spouse
  • Your children’s relationship with other family members
  • Your children’s adjustment to their community, home and school
  • The wishes of your child, if he or she is of suitable age and maturity
  • You and your spouse’s ability to encourage your children to maintain a connection with the other parent
  • Whether you or your spouse took adverse actions to receive a favorable share of legal decision-making or parenting time
  • Whether you or your spouse have a history of abuse or domestic violence

Honoring your children’s best interests

Once your divorce is final, you must comply with the terms of your parenting plan. No matter your feelings toward your spouse, abiding by it will help the two of you establish a solid co-parenting relationship. By focusing on your children’s needs instead of your differences, you can work to present a united front that puts them ahead of your disagreements.

While creating a strong parenting plan is worthwhile, it can be difficult. A family law attorney can help you understand the steps you must take to make sure you and the other parent are clear on your rights and responsibilities regarding your children.