When parents get divorced, it’s important that the children involved are protected at every stage. When both parents commit to keeping the children’s best interest in mind, an agreement can be reached that benefits the children and, therefore, keeps everyone satisfied.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a legally binding plan agreed upon by both parents. The parenting plan spells out who is in charge of the child at what times and under what circumstances. It determines the custody schedule, the visitation arrangement and which parent has the final say on which decisions in the child’s life.

Why is a parenting plan important?

A parenting plan provides support within a family as the parents work together to support one another and raise your child. It also allows for the child to visit with extended family such as grandparents and cousins so that he or she can have a good relationship with each side of the family. Having a parenting plan on hand keeps both parents accountable to their agreement. That doesn’t mean that the schedule can’t be altered if the need arises, but typically, what the parenting plan says, goes. A parenting plan keeps both parents in line and provides a consistent, predictable schedule for the children. A parenting plan also provides stipulations about what to do when big life changes occur, such as a move for work or a job change. A parenting plan could advise parents to inform each other before making any life changes that could affect visitation.

What should I consider when creating a parenting plan?

When writing a parenting plan, it’s most important to consider your children. Don’t put them in the middle or force them to choose sides by grilling them about what the other parent is doing or speaking poorly of the other parent with your children within earshot. Respect the needs of your children by doing your best to parent them when they are with you and enjoy your time with them. Also consider your child’s wishes and what would make them happy. Of course, especially if they are young, their opinion should not be the final say, but older children can verbalize what they want, and their thoughts should be taken into consideration in order to ease the difficulty of the divorce. Another thing to consider is your support network. Be sure to consider the people in your life who can help you with your children. It’s not easy to raise children, so it’s important that you have support. Consider what kind of parenting plan would best allow your friends and family to help you as you adjust to co-parenting.

Ultimately, you want what’s best for your children, and we do too. To speak with an experienced attorney about your upcoming or ongoing custody case, give us a call at 615-890-3656.