When going through a divorce, there are many important things that need to get settled. Perhaps the most important of which is going to be what happens with the children. In most cases, both parents are going to want to have as much time with the kids as possible, and to be able to make important decisions on their behalf. Whenever possible, parents should try to come to an agreement regarding how the children will be raised in this new post-divorce environment. To minimize conflict, the courts require that there be a parenting plan (commonly called a custody and visitation order) to get decisions made before they cause problems.
Whenever possible, the courts encourage parents to come up with a parenting plan themselves, since they know what is going to best work in their situation. If the parents can’t come to an agreement, the judge will decide on an order, which is rarely ideal. So, when working on your own parenting plan, it is important to include the following key factors.
The most important part of the parenting plan is going to be determining who will have the child, and when. There are many options on how this can be done, and it will depend largely on the schedules of the parents and the children. Some parents do the same parenting schedule year-round, and others will adjust it based on the school year. Creating a stable schedule for the child where both parents are able to spend as much time as possible with them is ideal.
Deciding who will have the child for important holidays is an important way to ensure both parents are able to maintain traditions and celebrations. Holidays will include things like Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and more. In addition, parents can agree on other special days that will require a change to the normal parenting time. This could be something like an annual family reunion.
Identifying how each parent will share information with the other will help to maintain a good level of communication. Providing medical records, school report cards, and anything else that is considered important is critical for ensuring both parents are able to provide the proper care and attention for the children.
One of the most difficult things to agree on is how important decisions will be made. In most cases, both parents will be able to come to an agreement, but sometimes there are unresolvable disputes. Identifying who will have the final say, or if a third party mediator should be involved, will help to establish guidelines on resolving conflict ahead of time.
Writing a Good Parenting Plan
As with just about anything that the courts are involved in, a parenting plan needs to be written and formatted properly in order to be accepted by the judge. Contact Hensley Legal Services to get the help you need to negotiate and create your parenting plan.