Is joint custody the best arrangement for the kids? Should very young children be shuttled between two homes? How often? How will decisions made today affect the children in the long run? These are some of the most difficult questions Plano parents, attorneys, and judges face when developing a workable divorce parenting plan.
What should a divorce parenting plan include?
You can maintain consistency and avoid having judges make decisions for you if you and the other parent can craft a thoughtful parenting plan ahead of time. Your parenting plan outlines how you and the other parent will continue to care and provide for your children once you separate or divorce. Include things such as parenting guidelines, child care information, and other specifications that you feel meet the needs of your family situation.
Parenting guidelines are rules that both parents agree to follow in an effort to maintain consistency while raising the children. Your plan should include financial information such as details on which parent will claim the child as a dependent for taxes and details on how parents will handle payment when one parent pays for something for the child.
Child care information can explain where your child goes for child care, how the parents will communicate regarding child care decisions, and which parent will be responsible for various child care costs.
Other important things to consider when devising a parenting plan are:
- A parenting time schedule which will determine when your child is with each parent, including visitation for the non-custodial parent. This should factor in holiday time and school vacations. It may be helpful to post this on a calendar where your child can see it so everyone is aware of the schedule.
- Information about exchanges, including where the exchanges will take place. Will one parent drop the child off? Will one parent pick the child up? Will the parents meet at another location?
- Education and extracurricular activities information caninclude where your child will attend school, who pays for school expenses, and who attends school-related events, as well as information about sports and other afterschool activities.
- Parent communication information should include how the parents will communicate and what issues they will communicate. You should also describe how the parents will resolve conflicts and how they will make changes to the parenting plan in the future.
You can include other specifications that you feel are important. For example, you may want to include provisions indicating that each parent will encourage the child (or children) to have a good relationship with the other parent, and neither parent will speak negatively about the other parent in front of the child.
How to Co-Parent after a Divorce
Co-parenting involves more than simply co-scheduling. An effective divorce parenting plan should take into account more than just scheduling which days the child is with which parent. Rather, it should establish guidelines for basic household rules and expectations that provide the stability and consistency children need to succeed.
Marsha Pruett, from Smith College of Social Work,reminds parents according to the Huffington Post, “It is the quality of time and parenting – not the quantity – that is more highly related to closeness between parent and child.” She advises, “The absolute amount of parenting time should be emphasized less than a plan that allows for a schedule that enables both parents to feel and act engaged and responsible.”
For further information, or help developing a successful parenting plan in Plano, contact Warren & Migliaccio, L.L.P. We can help you protect your rights and those of your child when developing a divorce parenting plan and handling other aspects of your divorce. Call us at 888-584-9614 or contact us online.