When a couple makes the decision to divorce, one common concern they usually have is to make sure the divorce will have the least amount of negative impact on their children as possible. We know how much of an effect divorce has on families, with new living arrangements often needed, new family dynamics, and new roles for everyone.
It is not always easy to work together with someone who you are divorcing, given the acrimony that may be present, however, that should be the goal when it comes to co-parenting. As a child custody attorney can attest, one of the most important tools that can help attain that cohesiveness between parents is to create a parenting plan that you both can agree on.
Creating a Parenting Plan
As you negotiate custody with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you will also want to set down guidelines regarding how this shared custody will work. Every parenting plan is different because it should be tailored to your specific situation. Some parents may need to have only a brief overview of what is expected, while other parents will need extensive details included in their plans.
Parenting plans can also help avoid future disagreements regarding decisions for your child by including these issues in the parenting plan. For example, if you have a pre-teen who will have their driver’s license in a couple of years, you and your co-parent can make a joint decision on whether or not your future driver will have their own vehicle and who will be responsible for insurance, maintenance, etc. This decision can be included in the parenting agreement, avoiding a potential disagreement a few years from now when your child actually gets their license.
Parenting plans can address many topics. In addition to how custody will be shared and parenting time divided, some of the most common topics covered in a parenting plan include:
- Extracurricular and after-school activities
- How introducing the child to a parent’s new boyfriend or girlfriend should be handled
- How will backup childcare be handled?
- How will medical needs and decision of the child be addressed?
- Parenting time schedule for your child’s birthdays, parents’ birthdays, holidays, and other special events
- Transportation to and from each parent’s home for custody exchanges
- Transportation to and from school
- Visitation with extended family, such as grandparents and aunts and uncles
- What are the rules regarding discipline for the child when he or she misbehaves?
- What religion the child will be raised in?
Help Making the Right Parenting Plan for Your Family
An attorney can help you develop the parenting plan that will work best for you and your family. They understand that this can be a very emotional time for parents and will do all they can to help the process go as smooth as possible. They will advocate for you and your child and make sure that your parental rights are protected and respected. Call a law office today to set up a confidential consultation.