If you are going through a divorce and have children, one of the most critical tasks that lies ahead of you and your soon-to-be ex is to develop an effective parenting plan.
A parenting plan is an agreement between parents that outlines the custody of their children, and will cover practical arrangements such as who has the children on which days. A parenting plan will also cover the decision-making process for the children’s education, health care, religious training, and other life decisions.
If possible, it is always better for parents to develop a plan together rather than let a judge decide. If your divorce is an amicable one, this will be a lot easier than if it is contentious. However, there are distinct advantages to doing it yourselves. The reality is that you are the ones who know your children best, and you will want to be the ones who have the final say over how all your lives will go on after the divorce is final.
A family law attorney is also helpful in creating a plan that is right for you and your family. While the court will review the parenting plan to make sure it accounts for the best interests of the children, they usually go along with plans that have been agreed to by both parents.
What to Include in a Parenting Plan
Here are some of the key components that should be included in a parenting plan:
Where the children will spend holidays, vacations and school breaks. You should try to be as specific as possible about holidays, including the days and times when the children will be with each parent.
The process of providing each parent with access to medical and school records.
Child support payments, including what they cover, how they get paid and who gets tax deductions. In addition, the paying party should have a life insurance policy to cover his or her support obligations in case they die before support is scheduled to end.
Detail which parent is responsible for healthcare insurance costs and how those will be paid.
Reference how you will deal with childcare, education and extra-curricular activity expenses.
Anticipate and write down how you will deal with changes, including unanticipated travel or any other event that may change a visitation schedule.
Set up systems for important notifications, like medical emergencies or changes in visitation plans.
In addition, you should have a family law attorney review your parenting plan to make sure you have dealt with all of the appropriate custody issues.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.