As long as you and your spouse agree on the details, you can create your own custom-made parenting plan during divorce. Who else understands the needs and wishes of your family more than you two? For some tips on a parenting plan that is comprehensive and easy to use, read below.
- A good parenting plan includes custody and visitation provisions. The court is in charge of who provides child support and how much but parents can agree on their own support plans as long as it exceeds or agrees with federal and state guidelines.
- Custody comes in several variations. Shared or 50/50 custody provides both parents with equal (or close to equal) time with the child and both parents have legal custody. Joint custody gives one parent sole physical custody with the other parent having visitation. With joint custody, both parents share legal custody as well. While those are two of the most common ways to deal with custody, parents may have other ideas.
- To make things easier, tackle issues that you are already on agree on first then move on to more difficult issues. As you agree on something, put it in writing to take to the lawyers. When your talks stall, consider hiring a divorce mediator to help you with the issues you are struggling with.
- Having legal custody for both parents is common. In some cases, one parent being awarded sole legal custody is appropriate, however. That might be when the other parent is an abuser, incarcerated, or incapacitated.
- When coming up with a visitation schedule, be practical. If you already have to work on the weekend, don't ask for visitation every weekend. Over-scheduling will only lead to a disappointed child, an irritated ex-spouse, and a chaotic existence balancing work and time with your child.
- Try not to make things more complicated for your child during already busy school days. After-school activities, homework, and some downtime are important for kids. Leave weeknight sleepovers for weekends and school holidays.
- You might be tempted to ask your child what they want but be cautious. Some younger children are not ready to make adult-like decisions and are already under enough stress from the divorce. Children that are old enough to drive (or soon will be) are another issue, however. Expect to be flexible with teens who have busy school and social lives and that could balk at being forced to spend time with a parent.
For more information on creating a great parenting plan, talk to your divorce lawyer.Share