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Putting children's needs first in a New Jersey divorce

In most cases, divorced parents must set aside their personal feelings about each other and behave in ways that are in the best interests of their children. This might mean having to take them at their word when they make what seem like poor choices or disrupt a schedule. Parents should also avoid venting their frustrations about each other in front of their children. While it is important that parents take care of themselves so that they are able to continue to parent effectively, they must not do so at the expense of the children. Parents who need additional support may want to turn to friends or a therapist.

Seeing parents working together sets a good example for children. A parent should avoid the temptation to drop out of the situation altogether and let the other parent handle everything. When both parents are involved, the child is more likely to feel loved and secure.

Writing a parenting plan is a good step because it gives parents a document they can refer back to. This plan should include steps to resolve any conflict that may arise. Areas it might cover include discipline, education, new partners or stepparents, visitation from other family members and medical issues.

Coming to an agreement about child custody and visitation can be difficult, even with the assistance of legal counsel. Both parents may be anxious about giving up time with their children, but as is the case in every decision after the divorce, the child's needs should be put first. That means that if one parent works long hours and is unable to spend much time with the child, that parent may not be the best choice as the custodial parent. The custodial parent should follow the visitation agreement and remember that time with the other parent is important to the child's well-being.

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