Often, divorce sets off a series of changes, which can be emotionally upsetting and destabilizing for everyone involved. With children in the picture, divorcing parents should prioritize the children's physical and emotional well-being throughout the process.
One way in which parents can create a more stable experience is by agreeing on a parenting plan. Often, courts require parents to submit a plan. When parents cannot agree, they typically end up battling out their issues in court, and the judge then issues an order. While judges generally look at the best interests of the children when making their decisions, parents tend to be in a better position to understand their children's needs. Your attorney can help you work out an agreement that truly benefits your children.
An effective plan should cover several important points that often give rise to arguments when there was no negotiation in advance. Visitation schedules, where the children will spend holidays and arrangements for schedule modifications can streamline the practical aspects and cut down on misunderstandings in the future. You should also delineate which parent makes which parenting decisions.
Process for sharing information
As parents, you will need to communicate and share important information about your children's education, schedules, health and other issues. Your plan should describe how you intend to share this information.
Your family's specific needs
Each family is different, so your plan should reflect your family's priorities and cover the issues important to you. Religion, education, extracurriculars and special needs are some major topics many parents cover in their plans.
Guidelines for future dispute resolution
As you cannot foresee the future, your plan cannot cover every possible eventuality, so do consider how you will want to discuss and resolve future parenting disagreements with your ex. Once the judge incorporates your plan into the court order, you will need to ask the court to modify any part that requires change.
Having an individualized parenting plan in place can address your childrens' specific needs and preferences and reduce future arguments and uncertainty. If you are a parent contemplating divorce, an experienced family law attorney can help you develop an effective parenting plan that will protect your children.